Spain striker Diego Costa was labelled a traitor as he trained ahead of the world champions’ first World Cup group stage match against the Netherlands on Friday. The Brazil-born forward, who rejected the chance to represent his country at this summer’s showpiece international tournament, did not look fazed by the outbursts from several spectators but will expect a hostile reception wherever he plays over the next few weeks.
Costa was training with the rest of the Spain squad in Curitiba when he received a few isolated shouts from those inside the stadium.
His decision to opt for Spain over Brazil caused huge controversy last year. But despite the argument surrounding him, the 25-year-old went on to enjoy the best season of his career with Atletico Madrid, who finished the season as La Liga champions.
By scoring 36 goals in 52 appearances, Costa was one of the best performers in the Spanish top league last season, prompting La Roja boss Vicente del Bosque to call up the striker to his 23-man World Cup squad. He will also secure a £32 million move to Chelsea over the next few weeks, although Jose Mourinho may need to wait until after the tournament to secure the signature of his top summer transfer target.
Costa represented Brazil on two occasions, but the fact both appearances came in friendly matches meant he was allowed the chance to represent Spain, the country he says has given him everything. The Brazilian moved to Spain in 2007 and became eligible for Spanish citizenship after living in the country for five years.
He spent several years on loan with different clubs, and even joined Valladolid, before Atletico brought him back to the Vicente Calderon in 2010. However, it was only last summer when Costa established himself as the club’s main striker, following the departure of prolific Colombia international Radamel Falcao, who signed a lucrative deal with AS Monaco.
Costa’s goals helped Atletico seal their first league title since 1996, while the Spanish club also reached the Champions League final, where they were beaten by rivals Real Madrid in Lisbon.
Spain will now be relying on Costa’s goals to fire them through a difficult-looking Group B, which contains the Netherlands, Chile and Australia.
Watch Diego Costa being called a traitor by clicking play on the video below...