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Diego Costa gives update on Chelsea situation

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Diego Costa is not keeping quiet about that message from Antoino Conte.

Last week Costa, 28, revealed that Chelsea’s manager sent him a message while he was away on international duty to let him know he was no longer in his plans.

Chelsea’s top goalscorer for the 2016-17 season seemed to have a strained relationship with Conte throughout the Blues’ title-winning campaign, and speaking to the media following Spain’s 2-1 win in Macedonia (where he scored) the Brazilian born forward gave an update on his situation and where he’d like to move.

“I have a contract with Chelsea, they have to know what to do with me and I have to wait and know the decision that my club takes. I have a contract of two years with Chelsea, they have to decide. If they sell me, I will look for the best choice,” Costa said. “Atletico [Madrid] is among them, it would not mean not playing, they can loan me out to some team in Spain, Brazil or wherever, but I have to play.

“Everyone knows that I have a lot of affection for them. Of course I rule out China, I have to think about the World Cup. Atletico is a club that I have a lot of affection for, independently of whether I go there or not, I will continue to love them.”

So, Atletico Madrid is the frontrunner to re-sign Costa after he left them for Chelsea in 2014, and the Spanish international doesn’t seem too worried about Atleti’s transfer ban which means he would not be able to play for them until January if he signed this summer. It has also been reported that his representatives have met with AC Milan to see if a move to Serie A would be possible this summer.

As for his relationship with Conte, well, plenty more seems to be coming out following the Italian coach brutally casting aside Chelsea’s leading goalscorer in each of the three seasons he’s been at the club.

After a midseason fallout over a proposed move to China — Costa missed a victory at Leicester City in January due to a “back problem” before being reinstated to the team — Conte has decided that enough is enough and the eccentric, and often fractious, Costa must move on.

For Costa, he didn’t mince his words when asked about Conte’s decision to let him know via a text that his future did not belong at Chelsea.

“In life there are good and bad people. I’ll stay with the good of everything. You have to ask him, not me. It’s an opinion of the coach, if he has the option of putting another in. But there are things and ways of doing things and saying them,” Costa said. “But well, thanks to God I do not lack teams. The most important thing is that my team-mates want me. We know what there is there, who is good and bad. I get on very well with everyone and that speaks for itself.”

CCL: Toronto wins; Wild Herediano comeback

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On a single-digit Tuesday that severely limited the attendance at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where the Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC dueled in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.

Jonathan Osorio’s second half goal put the Reds in front and Sebastian Giovinco had a goal and an assist and the visitors take a 2-0 decision back to Ontario.

The best chance of a preseason quality first half saw Dominique Badji flub the best chance of the stage into the feet of Alex Bono.

Toronto took the lead, nabbing the away goal through Osorio’s header of a Sebastian Giovinco cross. And the Atomic Ant got on the board with a goal of his own off an Auro assist with 17 minutes to play.

[ MORE: Georgia teen heading to Schalke ]

Tuesday’s other first leg saw Herediano and Tigres play to a 2-2 draw in Costa Rica, with the Liga MX visitors taking a pair of away goals but shocked by a pair of stoppage time concessions.

Francisco Meza scored in the 15th minute and Lucas Zelarayan seemingly put it to bed with 15 minutes to play.

But Yendrick Ruiz converted a 90th minute penalty kick before ex-DC United forward Jairo Arrieta did this ahead of the Feb. 22 second leg in Mexico.

Another American heads to Schalke: Zyen Jones

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Schalkamerica?

Bundesliga mainstays Schalke have added yet another American, this one 17-year-old Zyen Jones of Atlanta United. Jones is a forward with the U.S. U-17 national team.

Like Josh Sargent, who signed his deal with Werder Bremen on Tuesday, he’ll head overseas and sign a pro contract on Aug. 25, his 18th birthday.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Jones will join several potential USMNT teammates in Gelsenkirchen, including injured senior team midfielder Weston McKennie and youngster Nick Taitague (19). Forward Haji Wright is on loan at Sandhausen.

Report: Simon Dawkins making move to Minnesota

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The Loons are taking a flier on Simon Dawkins.

The London-born Jamaican international hasn’t done a ton since returning to MLS from Derby County, and turned 30 over the offseason, and Paul Tenorio says the player is on his way to Minnesota United.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Dawkins scored 14 goals between 2011-12 with San Jose, but scored just five times in his return to California and was blanked in 14 appearances last season. He registered just 10 shots in those matches.

The left winger would join an attack with Christian Ramirez, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay, and a pair of Generations Adidas forwards: Abu Danladi (2017 SuperDraft) and Mason Toye (2018).

Champions League Weds. preview: Sevilla-Man Utd, Shakhtar-Roma

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Jose Mourinho says Manchester United is one round away from having legitimate hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

That makes the Round of 16 tie against Sevilla — beginning Wednesday in Spain — a bit of a dream qualifier for the Red Devils.

“I normally say that Champions League dreams start around the quarter-finals and not yet in the last 16,” Mourinho said on ManUtd.com. “Last 16 still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals, I think it’s the moment where even the teams that are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.

The injury-hit side got a bit of a boost on Tuesday in Sevilla, where Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera all trained ahead of the first leg.

As for the hosts, manager Vincenzo Montella admitted that he hopes Pogba won’t play, and joked that he’d prefer to tie up and “padlock” Alexis Sanchez in a bid to defend against the Chilean star.

The final Round of 16 tie to start will be Roma’s pairing with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the first leg taking place in Ukraine.

Shakhtar hasn’t played in some time, but the great equalizer is the bitter cold at Donbass Arena, where the temperature is set to be between 21 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit come kickoff.

Don’t worry, Roma fans, Daniele De Rossi is busy breathing fire into any teammates angling for excuses:

“The cold weather could affect things a little because we’re not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

“If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don’t go through because of the weather.”