MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa says his international allegiance belongs to Spain, not his native Brazil.
The Spanish football federation says Costa, who is of Brazilian origin but also a Spanish national, had "verbally manifested his intention of playing with the national team" to coach Vicente del Bosque on Thursday.
The RFEF said in a statement on its website that Costa will not be selected by Del Bosque for upcoming World Cup qualifying games, however, since the paperwork was not ready. The in-form Atletico striker has been the standout player for the Spanish league co-leaders, with eight goals in seven games overall.
The World Cup champions can qualify for next year's tournament in Brazil with victories against Belarus and Georgia next week.