Diego Costa plays down Brazil issues
Diego Costa has played down any possible issues with Brazil as he prepares to make his Spain debut in Wednesday’s friendly against Italy in Madrid.
Brazil-born Costa switched allegiance to the world champions last autumn but had to pull out of November’s friendlies with a minor injury. Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was reportedly angry to be losing out on a player he had selected for two friendlies but then left out his squad for the 2013 Confederations Cup tournament.
In recent weeks, reports in Spain have suggested that Barcelona right-back Dani Alves was charged with making a last-ditch attempt to get Costa to reconsider, but ahead of his first cap for La Roja the 25 year old told Canal Plus show Espacio Reservado that was not the case and that he had thought a lot before making the switch.
“Dani Alves never tried to convince me,” Costa said. “Not him, nor anyone from Brazil. I do not even have his number. Scolari called me because he thought I would be useful, not to annoy Spain and so I could not play for them. It was a difficult moment, I thought a lot about the decision, I tried to do the correct thing.”
Costa said the idea of playing for Spain had not occurred to him until the initial contact was made, but he had liked the idea, especially after his first chat with coach Vicente del Bosque.
“I never imagined it,” he said. “When I heard there was interest from Spain I began to imagine things, to think: ‘Why not?’ It was a privilege that the world champions want you, a privilege to be able to help the great players they have. I felt very important. I valued it a lot.
“Vicente del Bosque has shown me the type of person he is. I like to speak with people face to face, to feel what is true and what is a lie, and Vicente was very clear. He did not promise me anything. I do not like getting promises from people -- I like to win them over.”
The forward, who revealed he was named after Argentina legend Diego Maradona, said he did not expect that he or his family would be targeted by angry Brazil fans this summer.
“The fans are going to the stadiums to enjoy the games,” Costa said. “I do not believe they are going to damage my family. Brazilians have a lot of passion, but many will go to support Spain.”
Meanwhile, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has reportedly moved to try to make sure that there are no further defectors.
According to AS, Scolari’s assistant, Alexandre Gallo, has travelled to Europe to talk to 21-year-old Porto attacker Kelvin and Real Madrid and Barcelona youth-team players Jean Carlos Rocha and Lucas Vega. The report says that Brazil are also anxious to secure the allegiances of Manchester United’s Belgium-born midfielder Andreas Pereira and Manchester City’s Portugal-born youth team striker Marcos Lopes.