Poised to win his first Spain cap in this week's friendly against Italy, Club Atlético de Madrid forward Diego Costa hopes to follow in the footsteps of Marcos Senna, another Brazilian-born player who triumphed in the colours of La Roja.
First called up by coach Vicente del Bosque for the November friendlies against Equatorial Guinea and South Africa, the 25-year-old Costa was forced to pull out of the squad by an adductor injury. Quickly returning to form following the setback, the attacker has amassed an impressive 27 goals in 38 games in all competitions for Atlético this term, prompting his reappearance among the world and European champions.
"I'm really happy and even more so given the Italy match will be played at my home stadium [the Vicente Calderón]," Costa said. "He is playing very well and gives us another option [up front]," Del Bosque added. "He's showing the same form [as before his first call-up] and that's why he is here. There have been players who weren't born in Spain who have played for us before, and there will be more in the future."
Alfredo Di Stéfano, László Kubala and Ferenc Puskás are some of those players who have famously adopted the red of Spain down the years while naturalised midfielder Senna – capped 28 times – was part of the UEFA EURO 2008-winning side. "I'm delighted for [Costa] and hope things work out well for him and he can achieve the success I did with Spain," Sao Paulo-born former Villarreal CF favourite Senna said. "He certainly has the quality and physical attributes to do so."
Now flourishing at Atlético following a nomadic early career that took in SC Braga as well as loan spells at FC Penafiel, RC Celta de Vigo, Albacete Balompié, Real Valladolid CF and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, Costa wishes to find his feet with Spain in the hope of a trip to his native Brazil for this summer's FIFA World Cup.
"It was a difficult decision [choosing to represent Spain over Brazil] but everything I have achieved in my life has been given to me by this country," the forward explained. "Wearing this shirt would be an honour for any player and if I play five, ten or even 15 minutes, I will give my all."
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