Chelsea star Diego Costa to begin club peace talks to save World Cup hopes

The Chelsea striker suffered a major blow on Friday when the move to Atletico Madrid he has been pushing for collapsed at the last moment with the two clubs unable to agree a fee.

Costa, who is still back home in Brazil having refused to return to Chelsea since the end of last season, is now in limbo, with Atletico wanting him to settle his dispute with Chelsea to allow a deal to happen in January.

But in what would be a major climbdown, Costa is considering a reconciliation with Chelsea, and is being urged by close friends to return to England to settle his affairs with the club.

A source close to the Costa camp told Express Sport last night: “There will have to be a reconciliation between Diego and Chelsea.

“Diego will have to come back to England, because he does not want his career to end with him back in Brazil like this.”

Costa is also being told by those close to him to consider dropping the legal action he has begun against Chelsea for the way the club have handled the affair.

A friend said last night: “Diego has no grounds to sue Chelsea. But Chelsea do have grounds to sue Diego.”

Costa’s stand-off with Chelsea began with a text from manager Antonio Conte at the end of last season telling him he was not in the club’s plans for this season.

Since then he has remained at home in Lagarto in Brazil, working with a personal trainer while ignoring Chelsea’s demand that he return to England to get fit and be available for selection.

Chelsea have been subjecting the striker to fines for the period when he has been absent, and the club are looking into legal action themselves against Costa for breach of contract.

The club named Costa in their 25-man Premier League squad on Friday, which means they cannot be accused of preventing him from playing. But Conte is adamant his Chelsea career is over.

Costa desperately wants to play in next summer’s World Cup for Spain, and to do that he needs to be fit and playing.

Atletico could have signed the 28-year-old last week, but cannot play him until January because of a FIFA transfer ban. However, even if a deal can be sorted in January with Chelsea, Costa will need to be fit to play straight away – which means he needs to start his pre-season training very soon if he is to have any chance.

More Breaking News:
Top class Courtois save helps Belgium book World Cup 2018 spot

In the end, Eden Hazard did not start for Belgium despite rumblings to the contrary over the past couple days, but the Red Devils still managed to pull off the crucial 2-1 victory in Greece to book their spot in next summer’s World Cup in Russia. Other than the hosts, they are the first European team to qualify, joining Brazil, Mexico, Iran, and Japan as guaranteed participants at the controversial tournament.

Belgium struggled for large parts of the game and Hazard did enter the fray for the final quarter of an hour, but by then all the scoring was done, the flurry of three goals in four minutes ending with a well-placed Romelu Lukaku header into the far corner. Jan Vertonghen started the scoring in the 70th minute with a long-range effort, Zeca equalized three minutes later, and Lukaku scored the winner immediately after that. Earlier, Thibaut Courtois pulled off the save of the game to keep the scores level.

Michy Batshuayi did not play once again, but the win guarantees Belgium top spot in Group H, and thus qualification for Russia. Well done, all.

Elsewhere on Sunday, France were shockingly held 0-0 by Luxembourg and their 37-year-old super-goalkeeper Jonathan Joubert! N’Golo Kanté played the full 90 while Kurt Zouma, like Michy, only got to watch from the bench.

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