World Cup: Spain rely on Costa Bravo

World Cup: Spain rely on Costa Bravo
Spain's forward Diego Costa.

You know you must be doing something right if you are at the centre of a tug-of-war between five-timeWorld Cup winners Brazil and reigning European and world champions Spain.

That is the situation Diego Costa found himself in last year as two of the favourites for this summer's global showpiece went head-to-head for his services. Brazil were the first to make their move for their home-grown striker, giving him two friendly appearances at the start of 2013.

It was Costa's adopted nation of Spain - where he had been playing his club football for six years - that ultimately won his allegiance and he made his debut for La Furia Roja in February's friendly against Italy.

Physical, direct and abrasive, Costa is not your identikit modern Spain player, but the in-form Atletico Madrid forward could be just the X-factor the holders may need to unlock opposition defences who have become wise to their "tiki-taka" passing style.


That is an opinion shared by Atletico coach Diego Simeone, who said: "He's a big boost for the Spanish team, because he's different to the other strikers.

"He's going to cause a surprise with Spain."

A successful World Cup would cap a stunning year for the 25-year-old that has seen him spearhead Atletico's bid for the Primera Division and Champions League double, scoring more than 35 goals in all competitions.

It has been the best season of what had been a relatively slow-burning career until the past few years and helped catapult Costa into the top bracket of strikers.

While Costa's star is high now, it has not been an easy journey to get to this point for the powerful Lagarto-born hitman. It could have turned out all very differently, but for an incident that happened three years ago.

Following several spells away from Atletico of mixed success, he was deemed surplus to requirements at Los Rojiblancos, who he first joined from Portuguese side Braga in 2007.

Having only shown glimpses of his potential at the Vicente Calderon, the temperamental Costa looked set to be sold to a Turkish club in the summer of 2011 when, just prior to a Europa League qualifier against Stromsgodset, he tore the ligaments in his right knee during training.

Costa said: "The club had accepted an offer and it depended on me. It was a very serious injury.

"I believe in God. We have a destiny, good and bad, and everyone plays it out. I had to start again from zero."

Costa had been dealt a cruel blow, and one that forced him to use all of his determination, perseverance and fighting spirit to recover.

It was a battle that brought out the best in him.

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