Diego Costa spoils it at the end

As soon as the match had ended in Brussels Diego Costa decided to have a moan. He came out to say that if he was currently playing for Madrid or Barcelona he would have been getting more praise but as a foreigner... Well, as I see it, his game has been praised, even going as far as highlighting that when he came on for the injured Morata – himself a Madridista – Spain’s play improved. I get the impression that Diego Costa goes around hearing some things that aren’t real. He is from a foreign land, nationalised after living and working among us. Just as with Marcos Senna, also born in Brazil, a player highly valued, beloved and remembered.

Marcos Senna: an example of a popular nationalised Spaniard.

The root causes

The issues with Diego Costa go deeper, and it’s best that we deal with them. One, is that he has a style of play that rubs people up the wrong way. The night before last in Brussels, fans whistled when he was in possession of the ball. There they also watch the Premier League, where several Belgians play, and know all too well his on-the-field ‘manners’. This aspect of the player was what first aroused suspicion among many of the Spanish fans, and with others the criticism. The second issue is that since being brought into the fold, a decision by Del Bosque that was not universally popular, he has not delivered. That is until the other night. The Brussels match was the first in which he has convinced.

Costa showed his strengths, can he complete the package?

A new chapter?

In almost two full years he has scored just a single goal which has fueled a lack of belief and without doubt he has felt rejected. But there is nothing that can’t be resolved with games like that in Brussels, and if it comes with goals, even better. Lopetegui believes in him. It’s true that the Belgium game fitted him like a glove, with their defense playing with a high line. This will not always be the case. But, in principle, he has delivered in a manner that now has people looking at him favourably. He is a good striker. And if he was able to behave better... But he is not yet ready to change, as he said himself. Instead he will play the victim.

The new Spanish coach could reap the rewards from a positive Costa.