Diego Costa would welcome Spain call
Diego Costa followed another scene-stealing performance in helping Atletico Madrid progress past Sevilla to the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday night by suggesting he was willing and ready to play international football for Spain.
Costa was once more the centre of attention throughout Atletico's 2-2 draw at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan, which sealed Diego Simeone's side's progression 4-3 on aggregate and set up a mouth-watering final in May against city rivals Real Madrid.
The Brazil-born forward scored his side's opening goal by turning marker Alberto Botia inside out and firing home from 20 yards and then set up their second for Radamel Falcao with a fine run and cross. In a fiery ending to the match he then drew the fouls from Gary Medel and Geoffrey Kondogbia which saw both Sevilla midfielders sent off late on.
On the positive side, Brazilian-born Costa now has three goals in his last four games, while Atletico exited the Europa League when he was suspended for the games against Rubin Kazan. Such performances have brought speculation that he could join Colchoneros colleagues Felipe Luis and Miranda in Luis Felipe Scolari's Brazil squad.
But speaking to Spanish radio show Al Primer Toque after Wednesday's game, Costa, 24, who has played in Spain since 2007, said he had never appeared for Brazil at international level and would be delighted to accept an invitation from La Roja coach Vicente Del Bosque.
"I could play with Spain," Costa said. "The Spanish national team is the best there is - at the moment they do not need a Costa. They have impressive forwards. Who would say no to playing with Spain? Nobody could."
Costa's rampaging style and tendency to overstep the mark physically would definitely bring something different to Spain's more measured and technical approach to the game. Asked by reporters at the ground about the running battles with Sevilla players that ended with Medel and Kondogbia being red-carded, he admitted he was trying to control himself better in games.
"I had it all under control," he said. "I stayed down so as not to get up... In life you learn from everything. When I gave it out people talked as if I were an assassin. I know I can make mistakes and I am trying to control myself more. They did not come looking for me, it was just that I was there."
The former Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano forward said he was happy to keep doing his work at Atletico, which includes making space for Falcao to thrive in.
"The team is playing well and because of that things are going well for me," Costa said. "I do not consider myself a leading figure. I work day to day to improve. I hope things keep going like this. Everyone knows how important [Falcao] is for the team. I try to get inspiration from him."
Asked about renewing acquaintances with Madrid centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Pepe in the final, Costa said he was looking forward to it, as whatever happened in games was forgotten once the 90 minutes were up.
"After the game we will shake hands," he said. "There is no problem."