NEWS DIGEST – Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa refused to train on Thursday after being told that his club is to fine him for a verbal outburst in a recent defeat to FC Barcelona.

Atletico and Costa’s representatives did not respond to requests for comments by several Spanish newspapers, including AS, El Pais and Marca.

Costa has been banned for eight La Liga games by the Spanish Football Federation for verbally abusing referee Jesus Gil Manzano.

That was after he was sent off during the 2-0 loss at Barca on April 6.

The result of the punishment is that he will play no part in the rest of the season.

AS, El Pais and Marca and others said Costa had learned on Wednesday that he was to be fined by the club for the misdemeanour.

He then reacted to the news by refusing to train on Thursday, in spite of being fully fit.

Atletico’s general manager Clemente Villaverde criticised Costa after the defeat to Barca, which effectively handed the La Liga title to the Catalans.

He said the striker’s behaviour was “reprehensible and seriously damaged the club”, although coach Diego Simeone was more forgiving.

“Costa is an animal who can do things that make us suffer, like what happened at the Nou Camp when we really needed him,” Simeone told in an interview published on Thursday.

“But I don’t judge players for one incident. I evaluate them for everything and there are many more positive than negative things about Diego.”

Atletico, who are second in La Liga and trail runaway leaders FC Barcelona by nine points with six games left, visit Eibar on Saturday.(Reuters/NAN)