Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has welcomed Diego Costa’s impending return to the club but warned he is not guaranteed a starting place in the team.
Costa’s successful stint with Chelsea had a bitter end as his exile was only recently termed over after Atletico finalised a club-record deal to buy him back from the Premier League champions.
The Brazilian-born Spanish international did not return to west London this summer after being told via text message that Antonio Conte no longer had him in his plans.
The move will be completed in January, but Koke has warned his former teammate that he is not a guaranteed starter.
“He knows there are great players in our team,” Koke told reporters.
“There is plenty of competition – he will have to earn a place, we are having a great season and it is good that Diego comes to make us better.
“I am always glad when an important player joins the group to help us to improve, and also because I had a special link with Diego.”
The central midfielder was a teammate of the 28-year-old during his last stint in the Spanish capital, before he departed to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2014.
Koke relished their partnership on the field, saying, “Every time I had the ball, I knew his next move, and he knew that I was going to give it to him, virtually every pass was a goal.”
Atletico Madrid already have Antoine Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro, Angel Correa, Luciano Vietto and Fernando Torres in their attack, and Costa will have to fight for a place.
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