Madrid - Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa has been called-up to Vicente del
Bosque's Spain squad for the friendly matches against Equatorial Guinea
and South Africa later this month.
The Atletico Madrid man
declared his intention to play for Spain, for whom he qualifies on
residency grounds, and rejected a call-up from Brazil boss Luiz Felipe
Scolari last week.
Costa has scored 16 times in as many games this
season, including on Wednesday night as Los Rojiblancos secured their
place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a 4-0 thrashing of
"Every player offers distinct things. Diego fulfils all the criteria to play for Spain as he is in great form," said Del Bosque.
"We still have seven months until the World Cup and he is another option that we wanted to try in these two friendlies."
Bosque had previously been quoted as saying that should he call on
Costa he would be "almost obliged" to take him to the World Cup.
he insists that despite turning his back on Brazil to play for the
world champions, he will be judged just like any other player.
"We saw that he could play and we have incorporated him after a logical process.
"It all began in September and he fulfilled all the requirements.
"We got to know him personally and he gave us a strong feeling.
credit is not unlimited. From here till the World Cup there is a lot of
"In March we will play again Italy and we will see what happens.
He has exactly the same circumstances as any other player."
other notable inclusion was that of Real Madrid's Xabi Alonso for the
first time this season as he has just returned to action following groin
and foot injuries.
The Barcelona duo of Gerard Pique and Xavi
Hernandez are rested, whilst Fernando Torres misses out through injury
and Manchester City's David Silva is surprisingly excluded.
Manchester City forward Alvaro Negredo is included and Arsenal
midfielder Santi Cazorla also returns after missing October's World Cup
qualifiers through injury.
The reigning world and European
champions play Equatorial Guinea in Malabo on November 16 and South
Africa in Johannesburg on November 19.
Spain squad to face Equatorial Guinea and South Africa:
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Napoli/ITA)
Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa (both Real Madrid), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal/ENG), Raul Albiol (Napoli/ITA), Inigo Martinez (Real Sociedad)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas (all Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal/ENG), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)
Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), David Villa, Diego Costa (both Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas (both Manchester City/ENG), Juan Mata (Chelsea/ENG)