If there was one nation in world football you would not guess were considering trying to convince somebody to switch allegiance, it would be Spain. With the plethora of talent currently coursing through the Spanish football system the idea that they would be appealing to FIFA to have a Brazilian’s citizenship approved would be a surprise.
But that is exactly what is happening with Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa. The forward, who was the subject of a bid from Liverpool this summer, has had a stunning start to this campaign - scoring eight goals in seven La Liga games.
With that in mind Spain want him to play for them, something he himself is not averse to:
"If Del Bosque calls me up, how could I say no? I am going to choose the national team with which I feel most comfortable, I am not going to be false. I am relaxed and if the offer comes one day, then I will think about it."
Costa has played for Brazil before, in friendlies against Italy and Russia, but was not picked for their most recent round of friendly matches. Players who play in friendlies are entitled to switch national allegiance by precedent - for instance Thiago Motta has played for Brazil and Italy. He does however have Spanish citizenship, after living in the country since he moved to Spain in 2007.
But how must all of this be making Fernando Torres feel. The Spanish coach and hierarchy are effectively saying they would prefer to call up a foreign national - rather than a player with 106 caps for his country.
But it is not just Torres they would rather have called Costa up instead of for the upcoming World Cup qualifying fixtures.
But Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado has also been left out of the squad by Vicente del Bosque - who has openly admitted Costa would have been selected should he have received FIFA clearance in time.
That essentially means that Spain would rather call up a Brazilian, with no Spanish blood, than the most expensive strikers in Chelsea and Tottenham’s respective transfer histories.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement from your national team coach.
image: © Victor Gutierrez Navarro