Diego Costa endures nightmare Europa League performance for Atletico Madrid

There is a school of thought that says Chelsea’s tumultuous season was doomed for failure as soon as Antonio Conte attempted to move Diego Costa out of Stamford Bridge in such ruthless fashion.

The Italian told Costa he was no longer required via text, which appeared cold and disrespectful from a manager towards the striker who had just fired him to Premier League glory in his debut season in English football.

That was never going to go down well with the fiery Costa, but it might have been worth Conte being more tactful as the striker could not complete his move to former club Atletico Madrid until January.

That left the frontman to linger around the club, unsettling team-mates who had formed a close relationship with him and potentially turning them against Conte.

He has finally completed his return to Atletico but failed to impress in Thursday night’s 1-0 defeat against Sporting, which indicates that all is still not well with the striker.

The man valued at £54m by Transfermarkt did go off injured on 51 minutes, but before that, he had just 11 touches – including 6 passes – as Atleti got away with one somewhat to set up a semi-final date with Arsenal.

With no shots and no headers won to boot, maybe Conte was right to get rid of him in the way that he did.