There is no ill feeling towards Diego Costa, insists Chelsea boss Antonio Conte as he prepares for Atletico Madrid clash

Ross McLean
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Conte has confirmed he will shake hands with Costa (Source: Getty)

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte insists he will be happy to shake hands with Diego Costa should he cross paths with the combative striker during Wednesday’s Champions League showdown with Atletico Madrid.

The Blues last week agreed an initial £57m deal with Atletico which will see the 28-year-old frontman formally return to the Spanish capital in January when the La Liga outfit’s transfer ban is lifted.

Costa has not featured for Chelsea since being told in June that he had no long-term future at Stamford Bridge, and arrived in Madrid to seal the move having remained in his Brazilian hometown of Lagarto throughout the summer.

While confirmation of the deal was met with a level of benevolence from both sides, Conte has confirmed there will be no ill-will from him towards a frontman who netted 58 goals in 120 appearances in west London.

“As I have said, I have no problem with Diego Costa and we wish him the best for the future,” said Conte. “We want to thank him for last season. I have no problem with him.”

Conte also indicated his intention to unleash Eden Hazard at Atletico’s new Wanda Metropolitano stadium after cautiously reintegrating he 26-year-old into first-team action following ankle surgery.

Hazard has started only once for Chelsea this season, during their 5-1 Carabao Cup victory over Nottingham Forest last week, while Conte expects the Belgian to rise to the Champions League occasion.

“Last season Eden played a really important season, he played very well and was important to win the league,” added the former Juventus manager. “Last season he showed in every game great talent and to be a really good player, a top player.

“This competition is very important for him and the team as it brings you to another level. He has all the possibility to do this. He is totally fit and in contention for tomorrow’s game.”

Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns heading into the fixture after Conte dismissed suggestions that a wrist problem may sideline defender David Luiz. The match, however, will see goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois go head-to-head with the club at which he spent three seasons on loan.

The 25-year-old will come up against a team which drew their opening Group C clash with Roma, while Atletico trail leaders Barcelona by four points in La Liga, having won four of their opening six matches.

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