Costa happy to be 'home'

2014-06-10 21:30
Diego Costa (AFP)

Curitiba - Brazil-born striker Diego Costa claims he has been granted a positive reception from his countrymen despite opting to represent Spain at the World Cup.

Although he made two friendly appearances for his homeland in 2013, Costa chose last October to represent his adopted country Spain, where he has played most of his career.

That sparked fears that he would come under fire from his compatriots when returning to Brazil to play for Spain at the World Cup.

But the 25-year-old Atletico Madrid forward, widely tipped to be on the brink of a move to Chelsea, claims his reception could not have been better.

"Many people in Brazil understand what went on. Things are going well for me," he said.

"They have treated me well, just the way I hoped. I have the support of a lot of people who know what happened."

Costa was called up by Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari for a pair of friendlies against Italy and Russia in March 2013.

Despite that, the Royal Spanish Football Federation made an application to FIFA in September to call up Costa to Vicente Del Bosque's team after the striker was granted Spanish citizenship.

A month later Costa announced his decision to play for Spain, claiming Del Bosque showed greater desire than Scolari to win him over to his side, earning a rebuke from Scolari who accused him of "turning his back on the dream of millions."

Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) judicial director Carlos Eugenio Lopes went much further, demanding that Costa be stripped of his Brazilian citizenship and claiming that CBF chairman Jose Maria Marin had deemed him "persona non grata".

Costa did acknowledge that the warm greetings he has received might not continue once he lines up with Spain inside a stadium but he said he was "calm".

"My parents are delighted that I'm in Brazil, close to them," he added.

"They support my decision. People are treating me in a special way, I'm very comfortable.

"For me, this is a great moment and I have to be thankful for that."

Costa also dismissed any notion that he is still being hampered by a hamstring injury that limited him to little more than a fleeting role in his club's final two crucial matches of the season -- the league title deciding encounter with Barcelona and the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

He played 74 minutes of Spain's 2-0 win over El Salvador in Washington on Saturday to show that he was back to match fitness.

"I needed the match against El Salvador. Before I felt good but then broke down. Now I'm in top form and I have no problem with regards the first match," he said.

Spain open their Group B campaign against the team they beat in the 2010 World Cup final the Netherlands in Salvador on Friday before further matches against Chile and Australia.

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