Tiago Mendes has backed Diego Costa to be a success for Spain as he is for Atletico Madrid and also theorised as to Brazil’s reluctance to call him sooner.
The striker, who is seen as the subject of a tug of war between the national teams of Spain and Brazil, has begun the domestic campaign in strong form and currently leads the scoring charts.
For his midfield colleague, the loss of Radamel Falcao has more than been accounted for.
“We were left this summer with a great player who contributed goals but was not noticed,” began Tiago in conversation with AS.
“The team has evolved. Diego Costa provides goals and more. He is our strength, the man to guide us. He transmits his energy and determination in the field and it shows a lot.
“He transmits it to the fans and to his teammates. He fights for every ball as if it was the last. Then we have a group behind him that will fight to the death.
“Del Bosque is very smart and will make the most of a player. As Brazil have not. At this moment, we know that Diego can bring to the national team what he brings to Atleti.
“He will bring new blood into Spain and Del Bosque will win a great player for the national side.”
Tiago worked under Brazil Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari during his spell with the Portuguese national team, and so considered his view on the Selecao’s so far reluctance to use Costa.
“Scolari’s philosophy is to have a closed group, united and strong. And he already has his group – the one at the Confederations Cup, with one, two or three changes. It is hard for a player, who is proving his quality, that his country does not select him. I speak not only of Diego, but also Filipe Luis and Joao Miranda.
“It is very difficult to get into Brazil because Scolari does not change much.
“Del Bosque rewards those who are doing best and that is good. To see Koke, Mario, Juanfran and Villa, who could not go in the end because of injury, it gives us great joy.
“Knowing that Del Bosque is attentive to Atletico is very good.”