Diego Costa & Thiago at 'home' playing for Spain - Senna

A trio of La Roja's World Cup squad were born outside of the country but that won't be an issue according to a man who enjoyed a similar experience

Diego Costa, Thiago Alcantara and Rodrigo Moreno are at ‘home’ playing for Spain according to European Championship winner Marcos Senna.

Senna -  like Costa, Thiago and Moreno – was not born in Spain, but went on to play for La Roja, despite his Brazilian heritage.

Atletico Madrid striker Costa is the only one of the quartet who has actually played for Brazil at senior level before he controversially swapped allegiances in 2013.

Despite their background, Senna has insisted that each player is at home playing for Spain and that all three are ‘extremely important’ to their team at the World Cup in Russia.

“Spain has been growing gradually, and those three players obviously could not be left out,” Senna told Goal. “They’re extremely important to the Spanish team.

“They’re 100% adapted to the Spanish football culture, otherwise they wouldn’t be playing for Spain. They’re completely at home.”

Senna spent the majority of his playing career with Spanish side Villarreal, making 357 appearances in all competitions during his 11 years at the club.

After being granted Spanish citizenship in early 2006, Senna was capped 28 times for Spain during his five-year international career and won the European Championship in 2008 before missing out on the 2010 World Cup squad.

Even though he is honoured to have played for Spain, he is unsure who he would like to win should his adopted country face Brazil in Russia.

He joked: “I’m a privileged person because I can support both! This year I’m [cheering] for both of them, but I was with the Spanish national team during a coaching course, I’ve been invited to see the first game and I have friends in Spain (Iniesta, David Silva…).

“I don’t know anyone from the Brazilian national team. I don’t know if I want to see both teams playing in the final… I don’t know which would need to be eliminated first, but I don’t want to see them playing the final, because then I can relax and cheer (laughs).”

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Spain’s success at the Euros in 2008 secured a first tournament triumph since 1964 and Senna revealed the pride he felt at being included in that team, calling it a ‘privilege’ to have played a role in what started a dominant period for Spanish football. 

He said: “Being a part of this winning generation was a privilege. It worked out, we had a great European Championship.

“I think before that, Spain used to carry a very heavy weight on its shoulders, of always being a favourite and not being able to win. We took this weight off in 2008. We played very well and, after that, the players were ‘released’, and they started to believe that the title was possible.”

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