Diego Costa has admitted to being in contact with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho as he pushes for a move away from Chelsea.
The Spain international has been informed that he no longer figures in the Blues’ plans, with Antonio Conte claiming that he took the decision to move the striker out in January.
Despite both sides being prepared to part ways, no deal has been done during the summer transfer window.
Costa claims he has been treated like “a criminal”, as he holds out for a return to Atletico Madrid, and says former manager Mourinho has expressed his sympathy at a difficult situation.
“Jose has called me, direct to my phone, just to check I am OK and to see how I am. He wished me good luck,” the 28-year-old told the Daily Mail.
“I never had any problems with Jose, we have a strong relationship.
“Everyone was very sad when things didn’t work out in the end for him at Chelsea.”
Costa also says that he still has the support of many colleagues at Stamford Bridge, with Conte the one to have taken the decision to freeze him out.
He added: “You know that the manager doesn’t want me. I am waiting for Chelsea to set me free. I didn’t want to leave. I was happy. When the manager does not want you, you have to go.
“If you were to ask all my team-mates, they’d say the same. They send messages saying “I miss you” and that they love me.
“I am always talking with the boys – particularly Cesc Fabregas, David Luiz and Willian. We have banter over WhatsApp.
“They ask how I am. They really love me for the person I am. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be saying they miss me and love me.”
Costa netted 20 times for Chelsea in the Premier League last season as they swept to the Premier League title.
He was forced to watch on from afar on Saturday as the Blues opened the defence of that crown with a shock 3-2 defeat at home to Burnley.