Chelsea striker Diego Costa has revealed he came close to leaving the club during the close-season transfer window.
The Brazil-born Spain international had a poor 2015-16 campaign as Chelsea’s title defence unravelled and said he decided to leave the club for personal reasons at the end of the season.
But he changed his mind and has helped to send Chelsea six points clear at the top of the Premier League table with 14 goals in 18 league appearances.
“Did I want to go? Yes, yes, I was about to leave. But not because of Chelsea,” Costa said in comments published by the BBC on Monday.
“There was one thing I wanted to change for family reasons, but it wasn’t to be, and I continue to be happy here.”
As well as his goals, Costa’s on-pitch conduct has improved this season and he said he had made a deliberate effort to curb his aggression.
“I knew I had to improve that aspect because here in the Premier League there is no mercy,” he said.
“A lot of the time it seemed (referees) were against me. If they’re not going to change, I had to change.”