Del Bosque: Diego Costa will play versus El Salvador

Two weeks after exiting the Champions League final with a hamstring injury, the Spain striker will make his return at FedEx Field in Maryland.
LANDOVER, Md. – Diego Costa is set to make his return to the pitch Saturday night in Spain’s friendly against El Salvador at FedEx Field.

The Atletico Madrid striker has been nursing several injuries, and hasn’t played since a hamstring injury forced him off the pitch just nine minutes into the Champions League final on May 24.

Speaking at a press conference prior to his team’s friendly against the Central Americans, head coach Vicente del Bosque confirmed Costa will play, but did not specify if he will start. 

“Diego will play tomorrow,” Del Bosque said. “He’s been training well and he’s in good condition. We’re going to evaluate him closely and see how he does.”

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Despite his injury concerns, Costa was selected for Spain’s 23-man roster ahead of Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente. With fellow strikers Fernando Torres and David Villa enduring subpar club seasons, La Roja may have to rely on the Brazilian-born Costa if he's healthy.

In the game prior to the Champions League final, Costa was removed from Atletico’s title-clinching draw against Barcelona after just 15 minutes. Despite the two consecutive short appearances, Del Bosque doesn’t feel playing Costa against El Salvador is a risk.

“If I thought that playing Diego Costa was a risk, then I wouldn’t play him,” Del Bosque said. “We believe that he’s in good shape, we’ve talked to the medical staff and we think he’s recovered.”

Following the El Salvador match, Spain opens its World Cup six days later in Salvador with a 2010 final rematch against the Netherlands.