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Diego Costa to play for Spain; Brazil calls in Robinho to replace him

Oct 31, 2013, 7:00 PM EST

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It takes a special kind of talent to be on the radar for both the Spanish and Brazilian national teams. After a period of drama, Diego Costa ended speculation this week by signing a notarized letter saying he would play for Spain.

That letter, sent to the Brazilian football association, rejected the South American country’s call-up for its November friendlies and clarified his intention to play for Spain, AS reported on Tuesday. He is now eligible to be called up by Spain coach Vicente del Bosque in November instead.

With Costa off the market, Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari decided to give AC Milan striker Robinho his first call-up in two years.

“Robinho practically knew he was going to be called up,” Scolari said at a press conference. “He has played in two World Cups. It’s important at this time to give him the opportunity and see how he’s going to fit in and have the spirit we want.”

Scolari would not answer any questions about Costa at the conference.

The Brazilian federation went a step further, insisting that Costa be stripped of his Brazilian citizenship for his refusal to accept the call-up.

“The chairman [José Maria Marin] authorized me to open a legal action at the Justice Ministry requesting that he loses his Brazilian citizenship, which Diego Costa has rejected,” federation lawyer Carlos Eugenio Lopes said. “He rejected his Brazilian citizenship. Marin has asked me to study the situation deeply in order to keep him from ever playing for Spain. He told me that, from now on, Costa is persona non grata at the national team and that the players themselves wouldn’t welcome him because of that episode.”

In a video on the Atlético Madrid website, Costa said it was a difficult decision to play for his adopted country over his homeland.

“I looked at everything and saw that it was right and best to play for Spain because this is where I have done everything,” he said. “All that I have in my life was given to me by this country. … I hope people understand because it is not something against Brazil.”

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