Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa refused to train on Thursday after learning his club would fine him for a verbal explosion in a recent loss to Barcelona, Spanish newspapers such as AS, El Pais and Marca.
An Atletico source confirmed to Reuters that the Spain international had not trained, citing “personal reasons”. Representatives for Atletico and Costa did not respond to requests for comment.
Costa was banned for eight La Liga games by the Spanish Football Federation for verbally abusing referee Jesus Gil Manzano when he was sent off in the 2-0 defeat at Barca on April 6, meaning that he will not play a role for the remainder of the season. .
AS, El Pais and Marca and others said Costa learned on Wednesday he was to be fined for the club for the offense, and responded to the news by refusing to train on Thursday as he was in great shape.
Atletico general manager Clemente Villaverde criticized Costa after the loss to Barca, who effectively handed the La Liga title to the Catalans.
He said the forward’s behavior was “reprehensible and seriously damaged the club”, although coach Diego Simeone was more lenient.
“Costa is an animal who can do things that make us suffer like what happened at Camp Nou when he really needed him,” Simeone told Goal.com in an interview released Thursday.
“But I don’t judge players for one incident, I evaluate them for everything and there are a lot more good things than bad things about Diego.”
Atletico, who are second in La Liga and leaders in trail running Barcelona with nine points with six games to go, will visit Eibar on Saturday.