International

Costa defends Spain choice

2013-10-30 17:30
Diego Costa (AFP)

Madrid - Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has defended his decision to represent Spain rather than his homeland Brazil, claiming it was the right thing to do.

The 25-year-old's choice to play for the world champions was confirmed on Tuesday and Costa is now expected to be named in Vicente del Bosque's squad for two friendly fixtures in November next week.

"It was quite a difficult decision to choose between the country where you were born and the country that has given you everything, which is Spain," he said on Atletico's website.

"I looked at it, weighed it up and the correct thing is to play for Spain because here I have done everything, all that I have in my life and that I have been given has been in this country.

"I feel a special love for this country, here I feel very valued for what I do every day and I feel the love of the people."

Costa had also been included in Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's preliminary squad for their two friendlies against Honduras and Chile next month.

However, Scolari confirmed on Tuesday that Costa was no longer part of his plans and slammed the player's decision to "turn his back on the dream of millions."

Costa had represented Brazil twice as recently as March in friendly games against Italy and Russia.

However, as he hadn't played a competitive international he was still able to switch his allegiance to Spain.

"I want the people to understand that in no moment was I giving up on Brazil," he added.

"I don't see it like that. Simply that here I feel very valued and played my whole career.

"I have family in Brazil, it is where I was born and where, hopefully, I will live once I stop playing football. I hope that the people understand and respect that."

The demand for Costa's services from two of the favourites to lift next year's World Cup represents a huge turnaround in the career of a player that only became a first-team regular at Atletico last season.

Although he came up through the youth ranks at Barcelona Esportivo Capela in Sao Paulo, his first professional contract was with Sporting Braga in Portugal, whom he joined in February 2006.

After joining Los Rojiblancos in 2007, he was farmed out on loan to Celta Vigo, Albacete, Valladolid and finally Rayo Vallecano.

However, on his return to Atletico from Rayo last July, he was imbedded into a side on the up since the arrival of coach Diego Simeone in December 2011.

Costa struck up a fine partnership with Radamel Falcao and was the top scorer in the Copa del Rey as Atletico won the competition for the first time in 17 years.

This season, with Falcao having left to join Monaco, he has become Atletico's focal point and leads the league with 11 goals in 10 games, three more than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

And he also made a huge impact on his Champions League debut last week with a double, including one sensational solo effort, as Atletico continued their 100 percent record in the competition with a 3-0 win at Austria Vienna.

Read more on:    atletico madrid  |  la liga  |  diego costa  |  soccer
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