Diego Simeone admits he has "no problem" with letting Diego Costa exchange Atletico Madrid for Chelsea, admitting he wants the prolific striker to forge his own career path.
The Argentinian manager spoke honestly with Spanish radio station Onda Cero (via Sky Sports), signalling he won't stand in Costa's way if the player decides to leave:
It will depend on him and what he thinks is best for his future. I will support any decision he makes. It's natural that Chelsea are interested in him and that makes me happy, because my aim and that of my coaching staff is to see our players improve.
We understand that Chelsea have huge financial power and if he wants to live off football for the rest of his life, I will have no problem in him going.
Simeone's interview speaks volumes about a man who is under no illusions at the Vicente Calderon. The 43-year-old boss understands Atletico cannot afford to compete with financial juggernauts such as Jose Mourinho's Blues, a situation that has continued to repeat itself across the past few years.
Atletico fans have waved goodbye to Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao for huge fees in recent seasons, something Simeone is at ease with.
"It was like Radamel Falcao - how could I tell him not to go to Monaco? He gave life to this club," the boss said, per Sky Sports. He also stated that, while Samuel Eto'o has made Chelsea "better," Costa would "do his thing" at Stamford Bridge.
Right now, Costa's thing is scoring plenty of goals. The Brazilian-born Spanish international has slotted home 33 goals in 37 appearances across La Liga and the Champions League this campaign, leading Atletico to within touching distance of glory in both competitions, per WhoScored.com.
With Atletico currently top of the Spanish division, Costa's 26 league strikes include a vital winner away at Real Madrid in September, a hugely important goal considering the Rojiblancos are three points clear of their neighbours.
Due to face his potential next club in the upcoming European semi-final, Chelsea fans may have hoped Costa's recent shin problem—sustained after he clashed with a post during Atletico's 2-0 win over Getafe—would keep him out of the colossal contest.
Simeone denied the impact injury will stop Costa's participation, saying, "He is happy and well. One more cut does not do anything to this tiger," per Sky Sports.
The upcoming two-legged tie will provide Costa with a chance to impress those who may support his every move next season. Powerful, pacey and built with a terrific engine, the hard-working forward is the kind of player whose finishing ability can impact any match against the world's best.
He certainly outshines Chelsea's current crop of Eto'o, Torres and Demba Ba, all of whom have struggled to consistently impact Mourinho's returning season.
Costa has already proven his goals can influence the title race in Spain. Chelsea currently linger two points behind Liverpool in the Premier League with an Anfield encounter to come, indicating he is exactly the type of lone striker Mourinho needs to give his side a favourable chance of success.