Will Chelsea target be the most unpopular player at the World Cup?

Diego Costa attempting an overhead volley

Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa has chosen to represent Spain at the World Cup in his homeland this summer, will he be subsequently be the most unpopular player there?

The host nation will likely not welcome the striker dubbed a ‘traitor’ with open arms since he controversially decided to represent Spain at international level instead of Brazil.

The 25-year-old Atletico Madrid hit man has been in sensational form this term in La Liga, scoring 36 goals in all competitions for the Spanish champions and Champions League finalists under manager Diego Simeone.

He is heavily linked with a move to join Chelsea in the Premier League but first he will be appearing at the World Cup in Brazil. Born in Lagarto, Brazil, Diego Costa earned two caps for Brazil in 2013 after being called up to the squad by Luiz Felipe Scolari, before declaring his intention of playing for Spain instead.

FIFA granted Spain permission to call Costa up to the Spanish national team after he was granted a Spanish passport – he has been in the country since 2007 when he initially signed for Atletico Madrid.

This led Scolari to slam his decision publicly, stating: "A Brazilian player who refuses to wear the shirt of the Brazilian national team and compete in a World Cup in your country is automatically withdrawn. He is turning his back on a dream of millions, to represent our national team, the five-time champions in a World Cup in Brazil."

But, crucially, will he be the most unpopular player in Brazil this summer? The rivalry between Brazil and Argentina could see the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero prove unpopular with the locals, along with the Argentina team in general. However, I think on this occasion, a special kind of disregard will be reserved for Costa.

Being a good player for a bitter rival is one thing, but changing your allegiance to join another big contender to win the World Cup, effectively strengthening an enemy, will likely be regarded as a footballing crime by the people of Brazil and I have no doubt they will be vocal about their feelings on the matter.

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