DIEGO COSTA returns to Chelsea on Saturday for the first time since his controversial exit in 2017 and can expect a warm welcome.
The striker will make his Stamford Bridge comeback as a Wolves player after joining them last month.
The Brazilian-bruiser, who represented Spain at international level, turns 34 on Friday.
But everyone involved with Chelsea knows that despite his advancing years he will be a handful come kick-off in the Premier League clash.
He enjoyed a successful three season stint at Chelsea after joining from Atletico Madrid in 2014.
He scored 52 goals in 89 Premier League matches for the Blues, winning the title twice and the Carabao Cup during that period.
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Costa became an instant fan favourite under Jose Mourinho, but once Antonio Conte took the helm things started to turn sour.
The Telegraph have reported that former owner Roman Abramovich intervened to stop the star from leaving the club before he eventually went on strike
The Russian oligarch feared Costa's exit would derail their 2017 title-winning season – which was the last time the club were champions.
Costa’s head was turned in that January by a big-money move to the Far East – leading to a huge row between him and his then manager Conte.
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The Italian coach subsequently dropped him from a 3-0 win at Leicester City and told him to train alone after allegedly screaming at him: “Go to China.”
But this fresh report claims that Abramovich “acted fast” by “calling a meeting between himself, Conte, former director Marina Granovskaia and former technical director Michael Emenalo'' as he issued the order that Costa would not be sold.
He advised everyone in attendance to “find a way of seeing the season out with him and to revisit the situation” at the end of the campaign.
And it was a good thing that the now ousted Russian did step in as the forward returned to action to finish the season with 20 goals and title glory.
However, as we reported that June, Conte then took it upon himself to end the fan favourite’s time at the Blues via text message.
The now-Tottenham manager, who was sacked by Chelsea 12 months later, sent a brutal 27-word message that read: “Hi Diego, I hope you are well. Thanks for the seasono [sic] we spent together. Good luck for the next year but you are not in my plan.”
That led to Costa going on strike and returning to South America.
He refused to return to Chelsea but regularly posted updates from Brazil onto his social media accounts.
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Eventually, a deal was struck for Costa to leave Chelsea to rejoin Atletico Madrid that September.
The bitter exit meant he never got the opportunity to bid farewell to the Blues faithful that worshipped him – but this weekend he finally gets the chance five years after his explosive departure.
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