Del Bosque calls up Diego Costa to Spain squad

Brazil-born Atlético striker included for friendlies against Equatorial Guinea and South Africa

Atlético Madrid's Diego Costa celebrates scoring against Austria Wien in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Atlético Madrid's Diego Costa celebrates scoring against Austria Wien in the Champions League on Wednesday.SUSANA VERA (REUTERS)

As was widely anticipated, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque on Thursday called Atlético Madrid’s in-form striker Diego Costa up for the national side. La Roja is scheduled to play international friendly matches against Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on Friday of next week and South Africa in Johannesburg on November 16.

Del Bosque’s decision brings to an end an international tug-of-war for the burly forward, whose goals this season had reignited Brazil’s interest in acquiring his services. Costa was born in Lagarto and had featured in two friendlies for the nation of his birth earlier this year. However, when he was overlooked for the Confederations Cup this summer while at the same time being granted Spanish nationality, the Spanish Federation made a quiet approach.

Theoretically, until Costa plays for Spain in a competitive international match the door to a Brazil shirt is not completely closed, but the player has asked not to be considered by Canarinha coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and has signed the necessary paperwork committing himself to Spain.

He is joined in the squad by his Atlético strike partner David Villa, Spain’s all-time leading scorer on 56, and Manchester City forward Álvaro Negredo, the only two other out-and-out strikers selected by Del Bosque for the expedition. Barcelona players Xavi and Gerard Piqué have been rested while Bayern Munich’s Javi Martínez returns to the fold. Diego López, Real Madrid’s first-choice goalkeeper, has been overlooked, as has Fernando Llorente, despite finding his goal-scoring form at Italian champion Juventus. Real Madrid’s Isco and Manchester City’s David Silva also miss out, as does Real right back Dani Carvajal.

Spain squad: Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina, Víctor Valdés; Álvaro Arbeloa, Raúl Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Alberto Moreno, Juanfran, Íñigo Martínez, Nacho Monreal, Sergio Busquets, Javi Martínez, Xabi Alonso, Koke, Andrés Iniesta, Santi Cazorla, Cesc Fàbregas, Jesús Navas, Pedro, Álvaro Negredo, David Villa and Diego Costa.

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