Is Diego Costa the most hated player at the 2014 World Cup? According to Business Insider, the Brazilian-born Spain international might be. For starters, he can’t seem to win: to Spanish fans he is not Spanish, and to Brazilians, Costa is a traitor who turned down the opportunity to play for his country so he could play for one of its direct rivals for the World Cup trophy.
Indeed, after the Chelsea-bound former Atletico Madrid striker opted to play for Spain instead of Brazil, the Brazilian soccer federation (CBF) went so far as to suggest that Costa should be stripped of his Brazilian citizenship. Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari added fuel to the fire when he released a strongly worded statement about the player’s decision, saying: "A Brazilian player who refuses to wear the shirt of the Brazilian national team and compete in a World Cup in your country is automatically withdrawn. He is turning his back on a dream of millions, to represent our national team, the five-time champions in a World Cup in Brazil."
Now, the 25-year-old, who is expected to make his World Cup debut against the Netherlands on Friday, is regularly subjected to taunts of “Traitor!” during training sessions in Curitiba, Spain’s World Cup base. Why are Brazilian fans so incensed? Because Costa is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the world, both Brazil and Spain’s teams have visible holes in his position, and he decided to make the switch in a World Cup year.