The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is hopeful of receiving the green light this week from FIFA, world football’s governing body, to call up Atlético Madrid forward Diego Costa.
As was revealed by AS on 27 August, the RFEF made a verbal enquiry over the player a few weeks ago, with FIFA demanding that the request be submitted in writing for examination by the organisation’s legal department. According to Spanish newspaper El País, the document has now been delivered and the RFEF are waiting for an imminent response.
Costa, who was born in Lagarto (Brazil), was called up by Seleçao boss Luiz Felipe Scolari for the friendlies against Italy and Russia in March. The 24-year-old played in both, coming on as a substitute, but was overlooked for the Confederations Cup in June. FIFA regulations state that a player with dual nationality can change federations if they have not featured in a competitive fixture at ‘A’ international level for their original association.
Having left Costa out of the Confederations Cup, Brazil are now powerless to prevent Costa playing for Spain. As hosts of the upcoming World Cup, Scolari’s side will not be involved in a competitive fixture until the tournament kicks off next year. Meanwhile, Spain have two games remaining in their qualifying group for Brazil 2014, against Belarus and Georgia in October.
The RFEF had sounded out Costa over the possibility of playing for ‘La Roja’ in recent weeks, with the Atlético man informing the Spanish governing body that he would accept a call-up to Vicente del Bosque’s squad.
Diego Costa was signed by Atlético Madrid in 2007 from Sporting Braga. Following his 3.5 million-euro move to the Vicente Calderón, the forward had loan spells at Celta Vigo, Albacete, Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano, before establishing himself as a key figure for ‘Los Rojiblancos’ last season. On 5 July, he obtained Spanish nationality.
With seven goals, Costa is currently top scorer in La Liga alongside Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.