Chelsea striker Diego Costa, who is currently on international duty with Spain, has claimed that the Spanish press treat him unfairly and that they would be more respectful of him if he were a ‘natural Spaniard’ who played for one of the country’s top teams like Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Costa was born in Brazil but switched his national allegiance to Spain in 2014 just before the World Cup was held in his birth land. He believed he’d have more chance of success with Spain given that they were the World and double European champions heading into the tournament. He played two games for Brazil before declaring that he wished to become a Spanish national, having lived in the country for seven years.
He made his debut for Spain in March of 2014 and has since made eleven appearances, scoring just once. That is in direct contrast to his Chelsea form. Costa joined the West London club from Atlético Madrid in 2014 and has scored 34 goals in the Premier League in 57 appearances, winning the league title with them in his debut season.
Costa came off the bench for Spain in their friendly match against Roberto Martinez’s Belgium last Thursday and almost immediately set-up Manchester City’s David Silva for the opening goal in a 2-0 win. The Spanish press were unimpressed with his performance, however, after he came on to replace Alvaro Morata midway through the first-half.
Speaking after the match with Belgium Costa hit back at the Spanish press saying, “They criticise me a lot and if I played for Real Madrid or Barca and was a natural Spaniard they’d say I had a good game, possibly my best for the team. I didn’t score but I can be useful to the team. I participated a lot in the game and I leave here happy, unlike in other games”.
Costa has been criticised in the UK for his combative style, which he sometimes takes too far. He was suspended last year for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can and was also suspended retrospectively for dealings that occurred during Chelsea’s London derby with Arsenal. He was sent off during the quarter-final of the FA Cup against Everton at Goodison Park last season and also appeared to bite Gareth Barry on the neck, though the Football Association decided not to take that matter any further.
The Brazil born Spanish international scored in Chelsea’s opening two games of this campaign but was booked in both matches and could easily have been sent off if the referees of the games had seen certain incidents in a different light. Costa is aware that he has a reputation and feels that maybe he’s suffering from the Spanish press because of that. He said, “I haven’t done great things for Spain, I can’t lie, but when I play well they should say so. They criticise me for my character, but I also have quality”.
Julen Lopetegui replaced Vicente del Bosque in the wake of Spain’s poor performance in this summer’s European Championship in France and the match against Belgium was his first in charge. They welcome Liechtenstein tonight as they get their qualification campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia underway and Costa believes that they are well placed to improve under the former Porto coach. “A new era has started. I have faith in my team mates”, Costa said.
The Chelsea frontman believes that if he keeps producing the performances that he’s been putting in then the goals will start to flow for him when he’s playing for Spain. He also hopes that that will win over the Spanish press. He said, “It’s true that I have unfinished business with scoring but today I felt good and the goals will come. I’d be more concerned if I didn’t have chances, but the team is creating them and that’s good. I will score soon”.