Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has said new striker Diego Costa ‘will have to earn his place’ in the starting eleven come January.
Costa, who was embroiled in controversy this summer, having not returned to pre-season training with English club Chelsea – completed his move back to the Wanda Metropolitano last month.
The Brazilian-born Spanish international has begun training with his new club but is unable to make his debut until January due to Atleti’s transfer ban.
The 28-year-old returns to the club where he scored 56 goals between 2012 and 2014.
Argentine coach Simeone is keen to push the club towards success in both La Liga and the Champions League this season, but he has told Costa and a number of his players that they will have to earn the right to a starting place.
“Of the players who could bring us closer to the top, Diego Costa was the chosen one,” Simeone said speaking on “El Larguero” radio show.
“A different player of his quality maybe we could not afford to pay. The fans want to see the Costa who left us.
“Of the players we have had, he is the one who most surprised me. He brings together goals, hard work, effort and leadership. I imagine Costa and Vitolo finding it tough to get into the team. I look at who we have at the moment. They will have to work to earn their places.”
Simeone then went on to speak about Antoine Griezmann, who was taken off against Leganes after failing to shine.
“I whip myself if a player does not give the maximum they can give. With Griezmann that is not the case, he is an outstanding player and has spoiled us. If he does not score there is a gap. [Last summer] I was convinced he would not leave. I like him a lot.”
Having lost to Chelsea in the Champions League midweek, expectations were high for a win against Leganes at the weekend but Simeone’s side were held to a 0-0 draw, leaving them down in fourth place and a relatively big six points off league leaders Barcelona.
Following the international break, Atleti host Barca at the Wanda with a massive three points up for grabs.