Diego Costa’s dreams of representing Spain have been put on hold after FIFA requested documentation proving his eligibility.
The striker, who was born in Brazil, has impressed Spain coach Vicente del Bosque after netting eight goals in seven league games for Atletico Madrid this season.
A statement on the Spanish Football Association’s website confirmed that the 24-year-old wants to play for Spain but added that the sport’s world governing body had not yet been satisfied that he met the criteria to do so.
Specifically, they want to know whether Costa has represented Brazil in a competitive fixture, which would preclude him from playing for any other country.
To that end, FIFA have asked for a certificate from the Brazilian authorities stating that Costa has not played any part in an “official match with the Brazilian national team in any of its categories”.
The situation appears unlikely to be resolved before Spain’s FIFA World Cup qualifying games against Belarus and Georgia this month.