Diego Costa has declared himself ready to play after completing his protracted move to Atletico Madrid.
The former Chelsea striker agreed to rejoin the La Liga side in September but has been unable to register as the transfer window was closed.
He was officially introduced as an Atletico player on Sunday, while he will be registered on Monday when the winter window opens, and said he was “tired” of training and keen to play as soon as possible — with Atletico’s next match coming against Lleida Esportiu in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
“I want to thank the club for the effort they have made to bring me back,” Costa said, in comments reported by Marca. “I just want to play as soon a possible. I’m tired of training.”
Costa, 29, helped Chelsea to the Premier League title last season but his three-year spell at Stamford Bridge came to an acrimonious end.
Manager Antonio Conte told Costa early in the summer he was not part of his plans, but Costa spurned offers from elsewhere to focus on Atletico — despite knowing the club’s transfer ban would prevent him signing in the summer window.
On Sunday, Costa said he bore no grudges against anyone at Chelsea despite perhaps never fully settling in London.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) December 31, 2017
“I did not learn to speak English,” he said. “A pity, but the truth is that there were very good people who helped me and made my life easy. It’s a great club and there are only good memories.”
Costa joined Chelsea from Atletico in 2014, and the club’s president Enrique Cerezo said: “Costa does not need an introduction because this is his home and today we give him the best of welcomes. He is an extraordinary player and a great friend.”
After missing the first half of the season, Costa has work to do to force his way into Spain’s plans for the World Cup, but said the best way to convince coach Julen Lopetegui of his qualities was to score goals for Atletico.
“It’s a challenge,” he said. “The first thing is to do things right here, because if that happens it will be easier to be one of Lopetegui’s options.”
Atletico also unveiled the signing of Vitolo from Sevilla in a deal that saw the Spain winger trigger his €37.5 million release clause. Atletico signed him in the summer and loaned him to Las Palmas for the first half of the season, but he is now free to make his debut for Atleti.