London: Exiled striker Diego Costa was not included in Chelsea’s 25-man squad for the Champions League group phase yesterday. Costa, 28, has been frozen out by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and spent the transfer window angling for a return to former club Atletico Madrid that never materialised.
Atletico, who were drawn in Champions League Group C alongside Chelsea, are banned from signing new players until January. By not including Costa in their squad, Chelsea have ensured he will not become cup-tied, meaning he could play in the competition for another team in the second part of the season. Despite being named in Chelsea’s Premier League squad, Costa has not played in any of their league games to date, his place taken by £58mn record signing Alvaro Morata. Chelsea will also face Roma and Azerbaijani newcomers Qarabag in their group.
Manchester United included Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their squad despite his current unavailability as he recovers from a serious knee injury. United manager Jose Mourinho has said Ibrahimovic, 35, will not be available until next year, but his inclusion in United’s squad will raise fans’ hopes he could return ahead of schedule.
United open their Champions League campaign at home to Basel next Tuesday and will also face Benfica and CSKA Moscow in Group A. Mourinho also found room for 21-year-old striker James Wilson, who has not played a competitive game for United since October 2015.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp omitted right-back Nathaniel Clyne from his squad. The England international is currently sidelined with a back injury and has been replaced in Liverpool’s starting XI by youth product Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Philippe Coutinho was also included in Liverpool’s squad after his hopes of joining Barcelona were thwarted by the club’s refusal to sell him.
French centre-back Eliaquim Mangala was named in Manchester City’s squad after City were unable to find a buyer for him in the transfer window.
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