The 2016 UEFA European Championships are just around the corner with the continent’s finest teams ready to lock horns in France.
As ever, the most talented and entertaining stars will be gracing the pitch for a spectacular month of international football. Well, that’s not strictly true with a handful of players you’d expect to be embarking on the trip, not making the cut.
Perhaps the most high-profile absentee proves Diego Costa who was snubbed by Spain ahead of the tournament. However, La Roja’s loss could prove Chelsea’s gain.
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Costa certainly has a mixed history when it comes to international football. The 27-year-old caused a stir when he pledged his future to Spain in 2013 despite having previously gathered two caps for Brazil.
Since making the switch, the Chelsea man has acquired 10 caps for La Roja but has found the net just once. A solitary strike against Luxembourg proves far from the quality usually displayed by Costa.
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His frustrations in a Spain shirt were compiled at the 2014 World Cup where he proved one of numerous flops in a doomed campaign.
Consequently, despite a strong finish to the season with Chelsea, Costa has missed out on the plane to France.
While his poor performances with the national team may prove the motive, it remains baffling considering the preference for less prolific forwards. The 27-year-old’s temperament must also be considered however, especially given this was the reason he missed out on the squad in November.
However, amidst all the drama, Chelsea could prove vast beneficiaries from the decision to leave out Costa.
Although the Spaniard is renowned for his prolific goal scoring, it often comes in fits and starts. In fact, 12 of his 16 strikes this season came in his last 20 appearances after a stagnant start.
Consequently, a break from football over the summer could be the rest needed to ensure Costa starts the season on a high. While peaking at Euro 2016 would have been brilliant for Spain, it wouldn’t have boded well for the Blues.
Similarly, a rest could go a long way in quashing injury fears. The 27-year-old possesses a high-profile hamstring issue and he could have been a ticking time bomb had he started in France.
At the very least it ensures Chelsea fans and Antonio Conte can breathe a little easier this summer.
Stars who have played in international tournaments over the summer often return later to their club or jaded at the least. The Stamford Bridge side rely heavily on Costa so having him 100 per cent heading into August will be a string to their bow.
Moreover, the Blues’ lucratively late starting pre-season last year came back to bite with a slow start to their Premier League campaign. As a result, having key players such as Costa back early will only prove beneficial.
Besides, had he been selected it would have been a lose-lose situation for the west London outfit. If the ex-Atletico Madrid man had flopped it could have eroded his confidence, but had quite the contrary happened, the Blues could have been inundated with transfer offers.
While it may prove frustrating that a player of such caliber won’t be at Euro 2016, if you’re a Chelsea fan it’s more a blessing than a curse.
Do you think Spain should have selected Diego Costa this summer? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!