Despite all of their recent on-pitch pushing and shoving, Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has high hopes for Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.
Ramos told AS this week that his new Spanish national teammate can have a great impact on the squad. The Madrid defender also played down any alleged tension between the two after several tussles in a heated Madrid derby on Sunday.
“I think Costa is a great choice and can bring many things,” Ramos told AS. “There’s no problem between us. It’s part of our sport, we defend our interests.”
Costa became the source of some controversy in October when he declared that he wished to play international football for Spain, where he resides as an Atletico player, instead of his native Brazil. He had made two appearances in March 2013 friendlies for the Selecao before requesting a shift.
Those in the Spanish camp were pleased to have a player of his quality to call upon, but those in Brazil, including national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, condemned him. Costa is sure to receive some jeers in Brazil if he makes the Spanish World Cup squad for his decision.
The 25-year-old could line up with Ramos as early as Wednesday because both made the squad for a high-profile friendly against Italy. If Costa makes an appearance, it will be his first for his new nation.
“Football is to unite, not separate,” Ramos, who has more than 100 caps to his name, said. “We’re teammates now.”
In the same interview, Ramos said he relishes Los Blancos seeing a title challenge from their crosstown rivals.
“We know [Atletico] have a strong character and heart and that’s part of their style,” he said. “Madrid’s is to control the ball more. They defend their thing and we defend ours … It’s good to have another team that can challenge for the title. They are doing very well and are at a high level.”