By 90Min
April 20, 2019

Atletico Madrid were shocked on Thursday afternoon when forward Diego Costa refused to take part in training with his teammates ahead of this weekend's trip to Eibar.

The former Chelsea man recently received an eight game suspension for verbally abusing a referee in Atleti's defeat at Barcelona, and has been angry at the club's decision to open an internal investigation into his actions – with a move to China on the cards this summer.

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Despite this move, his manager is backing the controversial striker to bounce back next season. Quoted by Marca, Simeone told reporters: "We'll find a hungry Costa who is full of hope and ambition by the time pre-season arrives.

"I haven't changed what I think about Diego, I believe he has struggled this season because of injuries not allowing him to be a regular." 

Various injuries have restricted Costa to just 16 appearances in the league this season, during which time he has found the net just twice. The Atleti boss has expressed sympathy for his striker however, and backed him to return to form next season.

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"He has lived through situations which have made it difficult to build consistency, not even mentioning this suspension, but all this will make him work even harder," continued Simeone.

When quizzed on whether Costa had been disciplined for his refusal to train, the Argentine manager remained tight-lipped as he said: "It's an internal issue, families do not gossip to people on the outside. It has been treated internally, it's resolved. Diego was training today as he always has done."

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Los Colchoneros are aiming to fend off city rivals Real Madrid in their bid to hold onto second place in La Liga. They will be without Costa in their attempts to do so, as they look to come away from mid-table Eibar with all three points.

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