Diego Costa will test Antonio Conte’s claim of wanting to bury the hatchet by waiting for him in the Atletico tunnel tonight.
The 28-year-old marksman formally completed his £59million move from Chelsea to Atletico Madrid last night, on the eve of the Champions League Group C clash between the two sides.
Conte told reporters in the build-up that he had no hard feelings towards the man brutally dumped by text during the summer.
Chelsea have since been told that Costa will be waiting in the tunnel area of Atletico’s new stadium, the Wanda Metropolitano, for a face-to-face.
The striker also wants the chance to say goodbye to his old team-mates and club staff, after refusing all attempts to get him to return to England since the end of last season.
It was in January that Conte first told Costa he could leave Chelsea in the summer.
The text message sent in June, however, prompted the Spain striker to go on strike in Brazil. Costa, who rejected a string of rival clubs to return to Atletico, also accused Chelsea of treating him like a “criminal.”
The focus will now be on both men ahead of tonight’s game to see whether both men follow through with the claims of wanting to make peace with a handshake.
Asked if he would do so, Conte said on Tuesday night: “Yes, as I said before, I have no problem with Diego Costa. I said that we wish, for him, the best for the future. We want to thank him for the last season. But, I repeat, I have no problem with him.”
Costa, meanwhile used an Instagram post on Tuesday to say his goodbyes to Chelsea fans and staff.
He wrote: “Some cycles begin while others end. My cycle began at Chelsea three years ago – three remarkable years in all aspects – and I will never forget it.
“Two championship titles, a Community Shield, 120 matches, 59 goals and 24 assists later this cycle has ended. Not the way I would have wanted – far from it – but the best way possible.
“The wonderful fans of such equally admirable club and all team mates, as well as clinical, administrative and logistics staff will remain forever in my mind and in my heart.
“I will bring them with me in the certainty that I will always be by their side as well and I’m sure they will understand the reason why this cycle of mine has now ended – because I could not lose faith in myself. Thank you Chelsea for everything.”