Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa is rumoured to have asked the club to terminate his contract and release him as soon as possible, which could make him a free agent in the January transfer window.
Costa has struggled with injuries for much of his second spell with Los Rojiblancos since returning to the club from Chelsea in January 2018. This season has been little different, missing the entire Champions League group stage and finding minutes hard to come by at other times.
Atletico brought in veteran star Luis Suarez from Barcelona over the summer, while Joao Felix and Angel Correa have also been regulars in Costa’s absence, making it difficult for him to command a place in Diego Simeone’s preferred XI even when fit.
Costa’s Atletico contract is due to expire at the end of the season, but AS claims the player has requested to be released before then, citing family problems as the reason.
It is said that Atletico are currently assessing the situation and will try to help him as best they can.
Whether that means actually releasing him or attempting to find a bidder during the winter window that Costa would deem appropriate for his next club is unclear.
During his first spell, Costa helped Atletico win La Liga in 2013/14, scoring 27 times in the league and 36 in all competitions. He took home the Zarra Trophy as the top scoring domestic player that season – behind only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo overall – and got eight goals in the Champions League as Atleti reached the final for the first time since 1974.
Costa was sold to Chelsea that summer, winning two Premier League titles and the Carabao Cup during three seasons in England. But he fell out of favour at Stamford Bridge with coach Antonio Conte and was completely excluded for the first half of the 2017/18 season until he returned to Madrid.
Largely the result of injuries, Costa has been less prolific in his second spell with Atletico, although he has still helped the club win the Europa League and UEFA Super Cup.