Madrid, 4 October
Spain manager Vicente del Bosque reiterated his intention to call up Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa as he named a 23-man squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Georgia later this month.
A statement from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said on Thursday that the Atletico Madrid man couldn’t be called upon just now as there was still some paperwork pending to switch his allegiance from Brazil to Spain.
Costa has played twice for Brazil, but just in friendly matches, meaning he is able to play for the world champions, for whom he qualifies on residency grounds.
And the 24-year-old has flourished this season with eight goals in seven league games making him La Liga’s joint top goalscorer alongside Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. "The federation took the necessary steps but there was a delay with FIFA. If anyone is at fault it is us for not having foreseen it before," Del Bosque said. Cesar Azpilicueta and Fernando Torres, however, once again miss out while Mata gets drafted in. Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno has been called up to the senior side for the first time in the absence of the injured Jordi Alba of Barcelona. And Atletico Madrid right-back Juanfran also returns and is joined by Koke and Mario Suarez.