Diego Costa has officially revealed his desire to rejoin Atletico Madrid - but has claimed Chelsea have prevented him from ddeparting Stamford Bridge.
The Blues striker is in the midst of a self-imposed strike from the Premier League champions after he was told that he was no longer part of manager Antonio Conte's first-team plans.
In a statement released on Globo Esporte on Thursday, Costa admitted publically that he was only interested in heading back to his former club before firing a barb at his current employers for refusing to sanction a transfer away.
Diego Costa says he's waiting for Chelsea to set him free. Not coming back to London. Only destination Atlético: "I must return to Atlético"— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) August 17, 2017
He said: "My destination is already set. I must return to Atletico Madrid next season.
"It turns out that there is a problem in that Chelsea does not want to release me. But I believe that this situation will soon be resolved now on my return to Spain."
Chelsea have threatened legal action over Costa's decision not to return to the club to take part in first-team training sessions despite him being out of favour, and it is now up for debate as to where this saga goes from here.
The 29-year-old marksman had revealed how Conte had prevented him from signing a new contract, at the turn of the year, in an interview with the Daily Mail on Monday and stated his intent to remain in the country of his birth - Brazil - for up to a year as he tried to force through a switch back to the Spanish capital.
Costa had said:"In January, things happened with the coach. I was on the brink of renewing my contract and they put the brakes on it.
"I suspect the manager was behind it. He asked for that to happen. I have seen the sort of person he is. He has his own opinion and that will not change. I respect him as a great coach. He has done a good job and I can see that, but as a person, no.
It's amazing that Antonio Conte is escaping what should be scathing criticism for his treatment of Diego Costa. Incompetent management.— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephSport) August 15, 2017
"If I have to I will stay in Brazil. I am open to being a year in Brazil without playing, even if Chelsea fine me for a year and don't pay me. I'll come back stronger. If I was in the wrong, I'd go back now and do as they say."
Chelsea, however, are now considering whether to sue the Spain international over his stance after repeated attempts to force him to return to their Cobham training base.
Atletico are keen on bringing Costa to the Wanda Metropolitano but are unable to register new signings until January due to an ongoing FIFA transfer ban.
Los Rojiblancos have claimed that that they would sign Costa permanently and loan him out to another club to keep his match fitness up, but Costa is against such a move.