Brazilian seeks nationality change to play in World Cup

Rio de Janeiro, Sep 26 : Atletico Madrid's Brazilian striker Diego Costa is set to change his nationality in a bid to represent Spain at the 2014 World Cup.

The 24-year-old is expected to have the move approved by world football's governing body FIFA within weeks, reports Xinhua.

Costa has represented Brazil's national team on four occasions, being used sparingly as a substitute in friendlies against Italy, Spain, Russia and England.

Under FIFA rules, a player may change nationality if he has not represented the first country in a competitive fixture.

According to Brazilian newspaper Lancenet, Costa already has a Spanish passport and could be available for La Roja's World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and Georgia next month.

Costa arrived at Atletico Madrid aged 18 in 2007. He was loaned to Spanish rivals Celta Vigo, Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano before cementing a berth in Diego Simeone's first team last year.

He is currently top of La Liga's scoring charts alongside Lionel Messi with seven goals from six matches.

Costa's hopes of breaking into Spain's squad are aided by the fact national coach Vicente del Bosque is yet to settle on a first-choice centre forward.

Del Bosque's current options include David Villa, Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo, Fernando Llorente and Roberto Soldado.

Brazil are no strangers to seeing homegrown players switch nationalities. Among Brazilians to change their allegiance in recent years are Deco (Portugal), Marcos Senna (Spain) and Pepe (Portugal).

--IANS (Posted on 26-09-2013)

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