Diego Costa may have been one of the best strikers in Europe over the past 18 months and is set to join Chelsea for a reported £32 million this summer, but he has yet to convince Dutch legend Clarence Seedorf.
The 25-year-old has played in both of Spain’s 2014 World Cup matches so far, but he has failed to score in either. True, he won the penalty for La Furia Roja against the Netherlands in their opening Group B encounter, but other than that, he has been largely anonymous.
On Wednesday against Chile, Costa had a poor first 45 minutes at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro and also missed a good chance at the start of the second period when he was nicely teed up by Andres Iniesta inside the South American team’s penalty area.
Seedorf is a living legend and played alongside many world-class strikers during his career in which he won the Champions League with three different clubs.
During his analysis of the first half of the game between Spain and Chile for the BBC, when asked about Costa, the 38-year-old said: ‘They (Spain) don’t play for him. That you can see in how they practically work with his style of play. He needs a lot of crosses and needs a lot of direct balls from the back so that he can get the space and the time. Because he is not a very skilled striker – he needs his time and space to make things happen’.
Anyone watching Costa in a Spain shirt in the last two matches would have noticed that the Atletico Madrid striker has looked the odd man out. He simply does not have the tiki-taka culture that most of the La Roja players (especially those from a Barcelona background) have.
Costa has struggled to adapt to Spain’s playing style and questions will be asked if it was worth the effort that they put in convincing him to switch allegiance from Brazil.
However, the fact that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has made it clear that he wants him as his main centre-forward next season does underline Costa’s quality. He scored 27 goals and provided three assists in 35 La Liga appearances for Atletico in the 2013-14 season, while adding eight goals and one assist in nine Champions League matches. Those stats do illustrate that Costa has some quality.