Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa has certainly made the headlines over the past few months.
Brazilian-born Diego Costa caused controversy towards the end of 2013 by agreeing to represent the Spanish national side instead of his native Brazil. The 25-year-old was said to be upset at Brazil’s decision to disregard him for the Confederations Cup last summer, and was later taken aback by Spain’s interest in his services.
The reported £32m Chelsea target’s decision however has not gone down well amongst all Spanish natives. In December, Valencia’s passionate fans gave him some strong abuse at the Mestalla and last month potential national teammate Alvaro Arbeloa made his feelings known with some rather cynical rough treatment during their recent Madrid derby clash in the Copa Del Rey.
In an interview reported by Spanish paper AS, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has criticised Del Bosque’s decision to hand Atletico Madrid’s top goalscorer a Spanish call-up, believing that only players - or coaches - with real connections to a certain country should be selected.
He said: “It’s allowed because it can happen, but if I was the president of the Portuguese Football Federation, I would only want Portuguese coaches”.
“When one day I’m the national team coach I will only select players who were born in my country. That is for sure. Or, if they weren’t born in my country, then their parents must have a connection”.
Mourinho continued: “I would never select a player because he has my country’s passport, thinking that we can make the team stronger. For me, the national team selection means a lot”-
“The national team is Portugal, not Portugal and friends. Portugal is for Portuguese people”.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald