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No better No.9 than Diego Costa

Diego Costa’s troubled time at Chelsea has come to an end with the Brazilian-born Spain striker agreeing to return to Atletico Madrid, but Cesc Fabregas would have liked to see his former teammate stay at Stamford Bridge.

After falling out with coach Antonio Conte, it was made clear to Costa that he was no longer wanted in West London, but Cesc believes that Chelsea are losing one of European football’s best strikers.

“It’s a shame for him more than anyone,” Cesc said of Costa being sidelined until January due to Atleti’s transfer ban.

“Diego knew that if he signed for Atletico he could not play for a few months.

“It has been a difficult situation for both him and for Chelsea; it has been wrong.”

Chelsea and Atletico Madrid are in the same Champions League group and face off against one another on Wednesday night, but the midfielder says he will never see his former teammate as a rival.

“Clearly I would have preferred for him to continue as a teammate,” he added.

“Diego will never be a rival to me.

“In recent years there has not been a pure striker better than him; he understood my game, read my passes and most importantly he could score from them.

“With Diego it is not just what he gives you on the pitch but it is his character, too, he brings a lot to the group.”

Fabregas himself suffered a troubled time at Chelsea in the last year or so, but despite going through a tough time he never considered leaving the Blues.

“I’m not going to deny it, it was a difficult season.

“I came from playing everything with [Jose] Mourinho and [Guus] Hiddink and then suddenly I was not counted on all of the time.

“Not everyone knows what I went through during those months and there were people who went as far as to say that it was no longer worth it.

“Only my family knows what I have been through.”

Asked if leaving was ever an option, Cesc’s response was brief.

“Honestly, no.

“I know what I can give the team and if I can play or not so I decided to stay and fight.

“With Antonio, there is no option other than to compete and give 100 percent in every training session and each match.”

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