Chelsea target Diego Costa says he feels in top shape head of Spain’s World Cup campaign, after returning from injury to play 70 minutes in the side’s final warm-up game against El Salvador.
The Atlético Madrid star originally picked up the injury during the final La Liga game of the season, when his side clinched its first title since 1996 against Barcelona in dramatic fashion.
Costa then lasted only 10 minutes of the Champions League final defeat to city rivals Real Madrid a week later, after attempting to play from the start for Diego Simeone’s side.
There were initially fears that the striker could even miss the tournament this summer but he now appears to have recovered sufficiently to able to contribute to Spain’s trophy defence.
Speaking a few days after the 2-0 victory over El Salvador in Washington D.C., Costa said: ‘I needed to play the other day to get rid of this sensation. The two times I got injured before I felt fine, and then I would play a game and my injury would return.
‘I get better every day with good spirit and the will to play but, above all regarding my injury, I now feel in top shape. I don’t think there’ll be any more problems and I will be in very good condition for the first game.’
Costa is coming off a hugely impressive 2013-14 season in which he scored 36 goals in 52 games for Atlético in all competitions, making him arguably the top transfer target across Europe.
The 25-year-old has reportedly already completed a medical with Chelsea and looks set to arrive at Stamford Bridge this summer for a fee of £32 million, answering Jose Mourinho’s cries for additional firepower upfront.
Strikers Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o contributed a combined total of just 19 league goals between them last season and the powerfully-built Costa would appear to be the crucial component Mourinho craves to prevent Manchester City from winning back-to-back titles.
After switching allegiances last year from the country of his birth, Brazil, in order to represent Spain, Costa has just two international caps to his name but is set to be one of the side’s key pieces at the World Cup, as La Roja look to win an unprecedented fourth major international tournament in a row.
Spain open their tournament against Group B opponents the Netherlands on June 13 in Salvador, in a repeat of the 2010 final in South Africa. They then face Chile and Australia, respectively, with Costa surely set to lead the side’s attack should his fitness hold up.