NEWS
Wednesday March 5 2014
Thiago: Spain ‘lucky’ to have Costa

Thiago Alcantara has said the Spain squad has welcomed Diego Costa to the fold and La Roja are lucky to have him.

The Atletico Madrid forward decided against playing for Brazil, where he was born, in order to play for his adopted to country, despite having made a handful of friendly appearances for the World Cup hosts.

Thiago, whose father Mazinho was a Brazil international, told a Press conference that Costa has been treated as any other player would be in their first Spain squad.

“We’ve welcomed Diego Costa as one of us, like any other Spanish player,” the Bayern Munich midfielder said.

“He had to make a difficult decision and you have to respect him for that.

“We’re fully behind him and we are lucky to have a player with his qualities.”

Thiago continued by revealing how much it would mean to him to play for Spain in the World Cup in Brazil, the country of his extended family.

“Every player dreams of playing in the World Cup. There are a few months to go before it starts and a couple of months before the squad is announced but I am really excited at the prospect.

“Especially as the World Cup is being held in Brazil, where I have roots. In the family home I’m sure there’ll be a few arguments about who to support but for the family we have over there it’ll be a unique experience.”

Thiago added that he is delighted to have been called up to the national team again after missing out on previous squads.

“I’m back and I’m eager to enjoy myself amongst these giants.

“Being called for the national team is a reward, there are some amazing players here and we’ve all come here to give the best we can.

“Italy have a lot of history and have been competitive in all of the World Cup finals they’ve played in.

“Italy will always be who they are and we will need to be very careful. My father has told me a lot of stories about Italian football.”

Thiago concluded by paying tribute to his former Barcelona teammate Carles Puyol, who announced on Tuesday he is leaving Camp Nou at the end of the season.

“He’s a natural leader, a person who is unequivocally linked to Barcelona in every respect,” Thiago said of the Barca captain.

“During my time there, he was a reference figure, an example on the pitch and off it.

“You all know him and while he’s still involved in football, he will continue to be an example.”

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