Diego Costa says he will not risk his fitness to feature in Spain’s forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers, but assures he has arrived the European champions’ training camp with a desire to play.
The prolific goalscorer featured in three consecutive Chelsea matches before the international break with a niggling hamstring problem he has been nursing since the end of last season. Despite his injury concerns, the 25-year-old has netted nine times in seven Premier League matches, including the Stamford Bridge club’s second in the 2-0 home win over Arsenal on Sunday.
“I’m here ready to play,” Costa disclosed to Spanish sports newspaper Marca after linking up with ‘La Roja’ squad on Monday. “I’ve had some problems but it’s getting better. I’ve already played three games in a week and the coach (Vicente del Bosque) knows that I carry some problems but I will treat them during the week.”
Portuguese boss Jose Mourinho recently concede he could only influence what happens to Chelsea players once they are back to west London, adding his says matter less when they are with their respective national teams.
And while Costa has had to feature against Aston Villa, Sporting Lisbon and Arsenal in quick succession, Mourinho would have preferred to have the £32m summer purchase from Atletico Madrid take an off during the international break.
The bottom line is Costa got called up by Vicente del Bosque for the double-header against Slovakia and Luxembourg. However, he says he will not take a risk on his fitness.
Costa said: “I don’t want to be in the middle (of Spain and Chelsea). Mourinho has not told me anything. One has to take into account that many times I am the one that makes the decision depending on how I feel. Here I have the confidence of the coach, the technical team, and if there is a problem I tell them. If I’m here and I’m injured then I don’t play because it would be worse.”
The Brazilian-born, who made his Spain debut in March in a 1-0 friendly win over Italy, has yet to score for his adopted country after five matches but hopes to finally make an impact with the back-to-back defending European champions.
“What I want more than anything is to succeed here (national team). Up to now things haven’t gone as I had thought they would or as people expected,” Costa said.
“This is why I really want to do a good job with Spain. I haven’t scored but if you look at the games I’ve played, I haven’t really had many opportunities to do so. I need to work hard in order to score my first goal, something which would make me very happy.”
On his journey as a Chelsea player so far and the ‘Blues” early days form in the English league that has had them build a 5-point lead atop the standings, he added: “Things are going very well, but not just for me but for Chelsea. I’m delighted. Against Arsenal it was complicated but we managed to win.”