Diego Costa, the Brazilian-born Atletico Madrid striker, will most likely play next summer’s World Cup on his native soil with the Spanish national team. Having only played for Brazil in friendlies, Costa is still eligible to switch country as he has lived in Spain for over five years. But should he be allowed to?
Costa is currently the top scorer in La Liga with 10 goals ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He played a big part in Atletico Madrid perfect start of the season. The ”Colchoneros” have, for the first time in their history, won their first eight league games. Costa’s performances have attracted the interest of his adoptive country despite the fact that he has already featured in two friendlies for Brazil against Italy and Russia.
Costa shocked the world last week when he said that he would play for Spain. The Atletico Madrid striker also added: “Spain has given me everything.” His adoptive country has surely done a lot for Costa and it’s understandable that he feels grateful towards Spain, but didn’t he already know that when he played for Brazil in March? What do his two caps for Brazil mean to him? The fact that Costa has chosen to play for Spain isn’t really a problem because we have seen a lot of players choosing the country they grew up in over their native countries, but it’s the fact that he accepted to play for Brazil twice in March that’s very difficult to understand. What can possibly happen for a player to switch allegiance in just over six months? Did the fact that Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Brazilian national team coach, ignored him or did the Confederations Cup influence his decision?
Soccer players can change clubs as many times as they possibly can, but should be allowed to play for only one national team. FIFA has got to step up and change the rules. A stricter eligibility rule is really needed to stop players from playing with different countries. No player should be allowed to play for two national teams, competitive or friendly. If more players are allowed to switch nationality, international soccer will end up being meaningless.