Diego Costa holds up his new shirt during his official presentation for Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. Costa was signed from Chelsea earlier in 2017 but was not eligible to play until 2018. (AP Photo/Paul White)(Photo: The Associated Press)
MADRID (AP) — Diego Costa says he‘s ready to play for Atletico Madrid after a long layoff following his exit from Chelsea.
The Brazilian-born striker was presented by Atletico on Sunday along with fellow winter reinforcement Victor “Vitolo” Machin.
“I have been waiting for this for a long time,” Costa said. “I am tired of training, I want to play.”
After posing with their red-and-white Atletico shirts alongside club president Enrique Cerezo, Costa and Vitolo were greeted by more than 25,000 fans at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Costa will reunite with his former team and coach Diego Simeone. Costa‘s goals led Atletico to the Spanish league title and the final of the Champions League in 2014.
Costa hasn‘t played a competitive match since last season, when he helped Chelsea win the English Premier League before falling out with coach Antonio Conte. Chelsea and Atletico reached an agreement in September over Costa‘s transfer.
Costa and Vitolo aren‘t allowed to play for Atletico until January when the club‘s ban on fielding new players expires. The ban was imposed by FIFA after the club broke rules regarding youth players.
Atletico is second in the Spanish league, nine points behind Barcelona. It failed to advance from the Champions League group stage.
Vitolo arrives from Las Palmas, where he played on loan for the first half of the season after the forward left Sevilla.
Atletico visits Lleida in the round of 16 in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, and hosts Getafe in La Liga on Saturday.