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Diego Costa picks Spain over Brazil

Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa
Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa opts to play for the Spanish national team.
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MADRID (AP)

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Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has sent a letter to the Brazilian football federation and FIFA saying his intention is to play for his adopted Spain.

The Spanish federation said on its website that Diego Costa had written to the secretary general of the Brazilian football federation, Julio Cesar Avelleda, indicating his ''desire to be at the disposal of (Spanish) national coach Vicente del Bosque.''

Diego Costa had already said that he was willing to play for Spain. The letter comes after Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari responded by saying that he planned to select the in-form forward this Thursday for friendlies against Chile and Honduras in November.

In March, Scolari picked Diego Costa for friendlies. But he spent only a few minutes on the field when Brazil faced Russia and Italy. Diego Costa is still eligible to play for Spain because the friendlies are not considered official matches.

The Spanish federation said that the player's letter now clears the path for Del Bosque to select Diego Costa for a friendly South Africa on Nov. 19, if ''he sees fit.'' Del Bosque has said several times that he has spoken about Diego Costa about joining the team.

Diego Costa was born in Brazil but holds a Spanish passport, having moved to Spain in 2007.

Spain will defend its world title in Brazil at the 2014 World Cup.

The 25-year-old Diego Costa is having an outstanding season for Atletico after the exit of Radamel Falcao this summer. He has led it to a club-record start in the Spanish league with a competition leading 11 goals in 10 rounds.

With David Villa having injury problems and Fernando Torres showing dips in form, Del Bosque appears set to make a major change to a squad whose core he has kept largely intact since Spain won the first of its two consecutive European championships in 2008.

Diego Costa would provide Spain with a formidable physical presence in attack that Del Bosque has shied away from, preferring, with the exception of Torres, to use smaller players like midfielder Cesc Fabregas to optimize Spain's passing attack.

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