Chelsea outcast Costa 'loved' by team-mates

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Diego Costa insists he is feeling the love of his Chelsea team-mates despite being frozen out of Antonio Conte's plans this season.

The Spain striker, who scored 20 goals in the Blues' title-winning campaign last time out, has been exiled this term and watched the club's shock 3-2 opening-day loss to Burnley from his hometown of Lagarto in Brazil.

Costa has claimed that Conte told him via text in June that he was no longer wanted, while the Stamford Bridge club say the 28-year-old was made aware of their plans in January.

Amid all the acrimony, Costa is heartened to have the support of his playing colleagues.

"When the manager does not want you, you have to go," he told The Daily Mail.

"If you were to ask all my team-mates, they'd say the same. They send messages saying 'I miss you' and that they love me.

"I am always talking with the boys - particularly Cesc Fabregas, David Luiz and Willian. We have banter over WhatsApp.

"They ask how I am. They really love me for the person I am. If they didn't, they wouldn't be saying they miss me and love me."