Atletico Madrid have confirmed they have officially terminated the contract of striker Diego Costa at the player’s request for personal reasons.
Having re-joined the club from Chelsea in January 2018, Costa was under contract until the end of the season but has instead been released six months early. The 32-year-old will now be a free agent and has the opportunity to find a new club.
A statement from Atletico read: “The Spanish-Brazilian player asked the club for his dismissal for personal reasons a few days ago and signed this Tuesday the termination of his contract, being released from our entity.”
Costa was just a teenager when he first joined Atletico from Portuguese side Braga in 2007 and initially spent several years on loan at clubs in Portugal and Spain. He was later sold to Real Valladolid in 2009 with a buy-back fee that Atletico activated just a year down the line.
A year in the Atletico first-team was followed by another year out on loan, this time at Rayo Vallecano, but Costa returned in 2012/13 and enjoyed a breakout season with 20 goals in all competitions. He reached new levels again in 2013/14 when he scored 36 times in all competitions, scooped the Zarra Trophy as La Liga’s leading domestic scorer and powered the club to the title.
Atletico also played in the 2014 Champions League final against city rivals Real, but an ongoing injury complaint cruelly ended his participation after only a few minutes.
Costa moved to Chelsea in 2014 and won two Premier League titles in three seasons at Stamford Bridge, before falling out of favour with manager Antonio Conte. His transfer back to Atletico came at a time when the club was banned from signing players, delaying his registration.
Battles with injuries and fitness have prevented Costa from reaching his form of old in his second spell with Atletico and he had played only seven times this season before his release.