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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

Brazilian striker Diego Costa on the brink of switching allegiance to Spain

The Atletico Madrid star intends to play for La Roja but won’t be available for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers due to paperwork.

Costa has been in fine form for Atletico Madrid this season.
Costa has been in fine form for Atletico Madrid this season.
Image: Andres Kudacki/AP/Press Association Images

SPAIN MANAGER VINCENTE del Bosque has been unable to call up  Brazilian-born Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa for the two remaining World Cup qualifiers, despite the player stating his intention to play for the world champions.

Del Bosque will name his squad for the games against Belarus and Georgia on October 11 and 15 respectively tomorrow with Spain needing just four points to guarantee their place in next year’s finals.

Costa has started the season in fantastic form and his eighth league goal in just seven matches was enough to hand Atletico a memorable 1-0 win over arch city rivals Real Madrid last Saturday.

That goal brought him level with Lionel Messi as La Liga’s top goalscorer this season with his return in front of goal meaning Diego Simeone’s men have barely missed the departed Radamel Falcao.

And although Del Bosque is convinced that his volatile nature wouldn’t be a liability heading into the World Cup and the player himself intends to switch allegience, a first call-up has been delayed by paperwork, according to a statement released this evening.

During the week, Del Bosque said:

He is doing well enough to be called up and his character wouldn’t be a problem. He gives me the impression that he is a good guy. He has great spirit.”

Costa is eligible to play for La Roja on residency grounds having lived in Spain since 2007.

The 24-year-old made two appearances for his native country earlier this year in friendlies against Italy and Russia, but he can still represent Spain as he hasn’t played in a competitive match at senior level.

Centre-forward is the one position Spain have been found wanting in recent years with Del Bosque choosing to play Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas in a somewhat unusual role up front as the form and fitness of David Villa and Fernando Torres has waned.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has criticised the potential move, claiming that the rules governing which countries a player may represent are outdated.

© AFP, 2013

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