Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has played down the process that led to Diego Costa joining his La Roja squad.
Costa announced his decision to switch from his home country to Spain last week, despite an attempt by the Brazil FA to stymie the move, and on Thursday the Atletico Madrid attacker was included in Del Bosque’s squad for November’s friendlies against Equatorial Guinea and South Africa.
The veteran coach later told El Larguero that the process of ensuring Costa was willing and qualified to play for Spain had not really been that complicated.
“It was a short enough process,” Del Bosque said. “He has Spanish nationality in all aspects, so we just had to wait for the next squad. He has been playing very well for Atletico Madrid lately -- he is key in what they are doing.”
The World Cup-winning boss said he had not spoken with Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari during the recent unsavoury ‘tug of war’ over Costa but did not expect the issue would sour their good relationship.
“No [I did not call Scolari],” Del Bosque said. “But we have always got along fine together."
Costa’s switch to Spain has led to questions about whether La Roja’s other forwards will welcome extra competition for a starting spot.
Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo, who scored vital goals in each of Spain’s last three World Cup qualifiers, appears to be first-choice centre-forward at the moment, with David Villa also in the latest squad, Fernando Torres injured, and Fernando Llorente and Roberto Soldado among those left out for the upcoming games.
Negredo, who also has five goals in his last three games at club level after this week’s hat trick against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, told El Desmarque Sevilla that he was “not worried” about competition from Costa.
Negredo added: “I must do my work, he will do his, and it will be the coach’s decision. We all work to be at the World Cup. So the problem will be for the coach. I have total respect for Diego, but I am not afraid of anyone.”
The former Sevilla striker nevertheless said he did not yet feel he had made the Spain No. 9 shirt his own.
“I do not feel like an automatic choice,” Negredo said. “The Spain No. 9 shirt is difficult, with all the debate around it, and the good form of all the forwards. Each time I try to make the most of my opportunities, and things are going well for me at the moment.”