Diego Costa says he is ready to play for Spain, but won’t gamble on fitness

Costa scored his ninth Premier League goal in seven matches for Chelsea on Sunday's 2-0 victory over Arsenal which lifted them five points clear at the top of the table.

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Diego Costa says he is ready to play for Spain in their upcoming European qualifiers but insists he will not gamble on his fitness.

Costa scored his ninth Premier League goal in seven matches for Chelsea on Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal which lifted them five points clear at the top of the table.

However, the £32m striker has been struggling with a hamstring problem since last season and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho revealed recently the 25-year-old was barely training.

Mourinho would also have preferred to see his player rest during the international break in order to receive treatment.

Costa, nevertheless, was called up by Spain coach Vicente del Bosque for the qualifiers against Slovakia and Luxembourg, and the Brazil-born forward insists he is ready to contribute.

"I’m here ready to play," he told Spanish sports newspaper Marca after linking up with his international colleagues on Monday. "I’ve had some problems but it’s getting better. I’ve already played three games in a week and the coach knows I carry some problems but I will treat them during the week.

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"But 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."

Costa, 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 is hoping to finally make an impact with the two-time defending European champions.

"What I want more than anything is to succeed here with the national team. Up to now things haven’t gone as I had thought they would or as people expected. 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."