RIO DE JANEIRO: Better late than never, the Brazilian Football Confederation has suddenly decided it wants to prevent Diego Costa, the in-form Atletico Madrid striker, from playing for Spain.
Brazilian-born Costa, who is La Liga’s top scorer this season with 10 goals, has played twice for Brazil but only in friendlies which would not prevent him switching alliegiance.
He has lived in Spain since 2007 and holds a Spanish passport.
However the Brazilian media has grown increasingly concerned about the prospect of Costa ‘coming home’ for the World Cup finals to score goals to Spain.
The world and European champions are widely considered in Brazil as the greatest threat to a home triumph, notwithstanding that Brazil beat Spain decisively last June in the Confederations Cup Final.
CBF president Jose Maria Marin has confirmed a conversation in which he warned his Spanish federation counterpart, Angel Maria Villar, against calling up Costa.
Marin said: “I had a friendly conversation with president Villar and made it clear that our coach [Luiz Felipe Scolari] wants to select him Costa and that we think Spain’s intention to call him up is illegal.
“I also said that we are prepared to take every action possible to fight for the right of the CBF. He (Villar) responded by saying the decision lies with the player.”
Scolari passed up the chance of selecting Costa for the World Cup hosts’ two October friendlies but has named him in a squad for Brazil’s friendlies against Honduras and Chile next month. Costa, who has yet to respond, told Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque earlier this month of a wish to represent La Roja.
World football federation FIFA is assessing a request by Spain to approve the player’s nationality switch. The onus is on Spain to prove its case, not on the CBF to oppose it.
Brazil play Honduras in Miami November 16 then Chile in Toronto three days later.