Spain, Brazil on collision course over striker Costa

Last Updated: Oct 04, 2013, 12:51 PM IST

Rio de Janeiro: Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa will be ineligible to play for Spain in World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Georgia this month, the Spanish football federation RFEF said.

Thursday`s announcement came as Brazil and Spain were headed for a collision course over the Brazilian-born 24-year-old`s future.

Costa has expressed his preference to play for Spain despite having represented the Selecao against Russia and Italy this year.

"Diego Costa is not able to be selected by coach Vicente del Bosque due to a demand for complimentary requirements from FIFA which we are currently attending to," RFEF said in a statement.

"The player has verbally manifested his intention to play for the Spanish national team to the coach (Vicente del Bosque)," the federation added.

Under FIFA rules, a player may change nationality if he has not represented another country in an international match played during an official competition.

Costa, who has a Spanish passport, appears to meet the requirements given that his only two appearances for Brazil were in friendlies.

Local media in Brazil reported Thursday that the country`s football confederation (CBF) has expressed its opposition to the move to FIFA.

According to the CBF, Brazil is unfairly disadvantaged by not playing a competitive fixture in the year before hosting the World Cup, to be played next June and July.

Costa has lived in Spain since being signed by Atletico Madrid as an 18-year-old in 2007. He was loaned to Atletico`s Spanish rivals Celta Vigo, Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano before earning a place in Diego Simeone`s first team last year.

The forward is currently top of La Liga`s scoring chart alongside Lionel Messi with eight goals from seven matches.

Other high-profile Brazilians to have switched nationalities in recent years are Deco (Portugal), Marcos Senna (Spain) and Pepe (Portugal).

IANS