INTERNATIONAL SOCCER

Atlético striker Diego Costa elects to play for Spain

Liga top scorer could be called up for November friendly matches

Atlético Madrid striker Diego Costa.
Atlético Madrid striker Diego Costa.JuanJo Martin / EFE

Brazil-born Atlético Madrid striker Diego Costa has finally brought to an end an international tug-of-war for his soccer-playing services by issuing a written statement to Fifa and the Brazilian Football Federation – stating that he does not want to be considered for selection by the Canarinha.

The 25-year-old Costa, who after modest beginnings in La Liga has become one of the division’s most coveted strikers – he leads Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in this season’s scoring charts – had played for Brazil earlier in March this year but not in official competition. When he was granted Spanish citizenship this summer, the national federation approached him with an offer of a Spain shirt. Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari’s decision to omit Costa from the latest Brazil squads, including the Confederations Cup, which is an official Fifa tournament, inclined the player toward La Roja.

Costa is now available to play for his adopted country and could be called up for friendly matches against Angola and South Africa on November 15 and 19. If his form continues, there is the possibility that he will travel to next year’s World Cup in the country of his birth with the current world champion’s squad.

“Spain has given me everything,” Costa said. “It is where my career has developed.”