International news

No Spain promises for Diego Costa

October 9, 2013
By Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Diego Costa says he has been promised nothing by Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque, but the Atletico Madrid striker does expect to be given his chance to impress for La Roja once the paperwork issues which have delayed his call-up are sorted out.

• Lowe: Hate him or despise him, Diego Costa's a star

Brazil-born Costa played two friendly games for his home country in March 2013, but was not called up for last summer’s Confederations Cup. He has now apparently decided to play for Spain, where he has lived and played his football since 2007, even though Brazil right-back Dani Alves has advised him to think twice about making such a controversial switch.

The Atletico Madrid striker told radio show El Larguero that he had made no promises when speaking with Del Bosque last week, however he was sticking with his decision to play for La Roja.

“To take a decision like this you must be sure that they will count on you,” Costa said. “Spain is the best in the world, with lots of champions there. They did not promise me anything, and neither of us made a commitment. We also spoke about the bureaucratic things which have to be sorted out.”

Costa shrugged off a suggestion that he was not the most popular player in La Liga due to his abrasive on-pitch style and regular clashes with opposition players and fans.

“I do not know about being the bad guy, I am more wholesome than fresh bread,” he joked. “On the pitch I have to defend what is mine, for good or bad. Sometimes things can happen, but always without badness, I always do it to defend my teammates. Often opponents, because of my character, look for me, to provoke me. If I am battling and fighting to the limit they lose it themselves much more than I do.”

The target-man accepted he had had run-ins with future international teammates such as Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos in the past, but said such incidents always stayed on the pitch.

“It is normal, each one defends their own, and there can be heated moments in a game,” Costa said. “Sometimes things can happen between us, but it is forgotten after the game. I know that the Spanish national team is like a family. I want them all to be happy if I am coming, I do not want to cause problems.”

The 24-year-old, who first came to Europe to join Portuguese club Braga in 2005, gave details of how he had been spotted originally by super agent Jorge Mendes’ company.

“I left Lagarto [his hometown] to work in an electrical goods shop in a shopping centre in Sao Paulo,” Costa said. “I saved the money I earned in the shop because I wanted to buy a motorbike.

"My uncle recommended me to some teams, and I did a trial with one. I began to play and did well in the championship. Someone who worked for Mendes came to see me and recommended me for Portugal, I was 15. My family wanted me to stay, I argued with them because they were afraid it was not a serious opportunity, but I made the decision.”

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