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Dublin: 13°C Monday 14 June 2021

Antonio Conte was quizzed about Diego Costa and his response was pretty unexpected

The striker remains in self-imposed isolation in his native Brazil.

CHELSEA MANAGER ANTONIO CONTE was inevitably asked about striker Diego Costa at his Friday press conference but his reaction certainly took many people by surprise.

The Brazilian-born Spanish international has been deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge and, in a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Mail recently, blasted Conte and the reigning Premier League champions for not letting him return to Atletico Madrid.

“They want me to be there training with the reserves”, he said.

“I wouldn’t be allowed access to the first-team dressing room and I would have no contact at all with the guys. I’m not a criminal! I don’t think it is fair after all I have done to be treated like that.’”

Conte was asked about Costa’s outburst and his response was unexpected.

Conte started to laugh while a reporter was still listing off the main talking points of Costa’s interview, the ‘criminal’ comment proving too much for the Italian.

After composing himself, he acknowledged the only way to deal with ‘the past’ was through humour.

“It’s great. I prefer to laugh,” he said.

“I can tell you that everyone who was in Chelsea knows very well what happened last season with Diego. It’s funny, this interview.”

With Costa instructed to return to London and get back to full fitness, Conte was pressed on whether the attacker would be selected again if he was to come back.

“No. I’m not interested to continue this issue. I repeat: for me, it is the past.”

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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