Diego Costa is a Brazilian striker turned Spaniard for international soccer purposes, and it’s led to him being criticized unfairly by the Spanish media and supporters, at least in his opinion.
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After switching international allegiances in 2014, Costa has made fewer than a dozen appearances for Spain, scoring just one goal, seven months after his debut in 2014. After failing to score yet again during Thursday’s friendly against Belgium, Costa was widely criticized — yet again — by the Spanish media.
To hear the Chelsea striker’s assessment of his own performance, it was his best showing in a Spanish shirt. So why the criticism, then? Shouldn’t have been born Brazilian, basically — quotes from the Guardian:
“They criticize me a lot and if I played for Real Madrid or Barca and was a natural Spaniard, they’d say I had a good game, possibly my best for the team.
“I didn’t score but I can be useful to the team. I participated a lot in the game and I leave here happy, unlike in other games.”
“I haven’t done great things for Spain, I can’t lie, but when I play well they should say so. They criticize me for my character, but I also have quality.”
Constant criticism has troubled every naturalized international that came before Costa, and will continue to do so to those that come after him. Take, for instance, the German-Americans brought into the U.S. national team by Jurgen Klinsmann. Whether consciously or subconsciously, many fans have a hard time viewing a foreign-born player as one of their own — until they put in standout performance after standout performance, at which point the naturalized player route is suddenly brilliant.