Michael Ballack: What I really think about Antonio Conte’s handling of Chelsea player
The former Chelsea midfielder has been impressed with how Antonio Conte has managed the situation with Diego Costa
Michael Ballack has praised Antonio Conte for his handling of the Diego Costa situation at Chelsea.
The Spain international returned to the Blues team at the weekend after Costa was left out of the Chelsea squad for their 3-0 win against defending champions Leicester City earlier this month.
Conte cited a back injury as the reason behind Costa’s omission but reports in the British media claimed that the Chelsea manager had clashed with the striker over interest from China.
The speculation suggested that Costa had received a £400,000-a-week contract offer from one Chinese club, which would have made the Chelsea star one of the highest-paid players in world football.
The former Atletico Madrid striker returned to Chelsea first-team training last week and the 28-year-old broke the deadlock at the end of the first half in their 2-0 win against promoted side Hull City.
Speaking to The Daily Mail about Conte’s decision to drop Costa before restoring the centre-forward to the Chelsea first-team, Ballack said:
“Costa is Spanish but he has this Brazilian blood and of course South Americans are different from Europeans, I knew that when we played them.
“Conte had to find the right access. He did it also with toughness – he took him out of the squad, which was an understandable situation. If it was the back (injury) or not, it doesn’t matter.
“But also the answer has been good from Costa. They are two really high-class professionals dealing with each other.”