EXCLUSIVE | By Editor
Diego Costa fears he is being forced out of the English game, Football Insider sources understand.
The controversial Chelsea striker has told allies of his concern that there could be an agenda against him in the UK.
Costa was handed a three-match ban for violent conduct last week after being given a retrospective red card for his behaviour in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Arsenal eight days ago.
The degree of public scrutiny is said to have surprised the Brazilian-born forward.
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“Costa feels he is being picked on a little,” a Chelsea source told Football Insider. “No one seems to have mentioned the fact that he has not been sent off during a competitive match for four years.
“He has always been a physical player who gives as good as he gets but he thinks there could now be agenda against him because of who he is.”
Intriguingly, this comes shortly after Football Insider revealed that Costa is hankering after a return to Spain at the end of the season.
Costa’s concern about his public persona will inevitably be regarded as excuse given that he has the Spain international has told friends that he is struggling to adapt to life in England 14 months after his £35million transfer from Atletico Madrid.
Costa could be ready to push for a transfer from Stamford Bridge if there is interest in him from one of the leading Spanish clubs.
The 26-year-old shares the same agent in Jorge Mendes as Jose Mourinho but is understood to have a strained relationship with his manager, partly as a result of his hamstring troubles in the second half of last season.
Despite his on-field success, Costa struggled to settle in London and misses life in Spain, where he moved to from Brazil, via a season in Portugal, as a 19-year-old.
Costa is widely regarded as one of the outstanding centre-forwards in the Premier League.
He has scored 23 goals in 44 matches for the London club and was a key figure in their title win last season, contributing 20 Premier League goals from just 26 appearances.
The Costa Chelsea situation could prove another headache for Mourinho following the team’s poor start to the season.
In the striker’s absence, Chelsea drew 2-2 at Newcastle on Saturday with a performance that was highly criticised by Mourinho.