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SBD Global/October 31, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Brazilian-Born Striker Diego Costa Chooses To Play For Spain Rather Than Brazil In World Cup

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Tuesday that La Liga Atlético Madrid striker DIEGO COSTA has "confirmed his intention to play for Spain rather than Brazil, the country of his birth," according to the AFP. The RFEF said in a statement that Costa stated "his desire to be at the disposition of the Spanish National Team Manager VICENTE DEL BOSQUE" in a letter addressed to Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) Secretary General JULIO CESAR AVELLEDA. Costa had been "included in Brazil Manager LUIZ FELIPE SCOLARI's preliminary list" for Brazil's friendlies against Honduras and Chile in November. However, Scolari "confirmed in a statement on the CBF website that Costa had now been removed from the squad." Scolari said, "A Brazilian player that rejects to wear the shirt of the Brazilian national team and to take part in a World Cup in his country can only be automatically withdrawn from the squad. He is turning his back on the dream of millions, that of representing our five-time winning national team in a World Cup in Brazil." Costa had made two appearances for Brazil earlier this year in friendly matches against Italy and Russia, but that "does not prevent him switching allegiance because he hasn't played a competitive match" at the senior int'l level. Costa qualifies for Spain on "residency grounds having moved to Atletico" in '07 (AFP, 10/30).

COSTA EXPLAINS CHOICE: In Madrid, AS reported Costa said, "It has been a difficult decision with everything that it means to decide between the country where you were born and the country that has given you everything, which is Spain. Spain has given me everything that I have in my life. I feel very appreciated here for everything that I do and I feel the love of the Spanish people." Costa said in regards to the criticism he is receiving from Brazil, "I want the people of Brazil to understand that I am not for one second rejecting Brazil. I don't look at it that way. I just feel valued here [in Spain], where I have made my career. It was a very thought-out decision, but it was not a rejection" (AS, 10/30).

CBF TO APPEAL: In London, Declan Warrington reported the CBF is "expected to appeal against Costa's decision." CBF President JOSE MARIA MARIN "had already described Spain's intention of calling him up as 'illegal'" (DAILY MAIL, 10/30).
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