Chelsea striker Diego Costa has admitted that his international drought was affecting him mentally after taking more than 500 minutes to register his first Spain goal.
The Brazil-born star finally broke his duck in Sunday night's Euro 2016 qualifier against Luxembourg, marking his seventh appearance for his adopted country with a resounding 4-0 victory.
Initially, it looked like Costa's worrying run of form was set to continue after the 26-year-old missed a glorious opportunity to get on the scoresheet midway through the first half.
Bursting through on goal one-on-one, and with the goalkeeper advancing, the £32 million marksman skewed an effort agonisingly wide of the post. Costa's frustration was clear for everyone to see as he covered his face with his shirt.
However, the former Atletico Madrid man made up for his earlier profligacy after the interval when he converted La Roja's third goal, exploiting Luxembourg's poor defending with a close-range finish following a free-kick.
Speaking after the match Costa could not hide his relief, and conceded that he had been beating himself up, before paying tribute to manager Vicente del Bosque for standing by him during the difficult period.
"It was bothering me. It played on my mind and the team lost last week that also really bothered me," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Star. "[But] this goal has given me new life. The ball broke loose and I just had to force it in.
"I have to thank the coach [Vicente del Bosque] for his support. With every game he gave me a new opportunity."
Del Bosque also spoke positively about the hard work that Costa had been putting in behind the scenes, and said that his first goal was always going to come for a player that puts in so much commitment.
"We were all suffering and we were all pleased for Diego Costa because he has worked hard," the 63-year-old reflected. "Now we need to look forward knowing that he will be an important player for us.
"At half-time I told him to be calm. We all noticed he was a bit nervous, dissatisfied, as he wasn't finding a way through. But when a player has so much desire he will always get there in the end."
There's no doubt that Costa has proved himself as a top-class striker after an impressive season in La Liga at the Vicente Calderon last term, which ultimately earned the £185,000-a-week star a big-money move to Stamford Bridge during the summer.
In west London, the talisman has hit the ground running with nine goals in his first seven Premier League appearances, and on that evidence it was only ever going to be a matter of time before the front-man hit the goalscoring trail at international level.
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