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“Costa-Gate”: How will Diego Costa’s Decision Influence his Sponsorship Potential?

Spain and Brazil have been involved in a strong dispute lately over the rights of Diego Costa, currently an all-star player in La Liga BBVA with Atletico de Madrid.

As the league’s current top scorer—ahead of world class players such as Messi (FC Barcelona) and Cristiano Ronlado (Real Madrid)—Costa has decided to defend the Spanish national team colors, even though he was born in the Lagarto municipality of Brasil.

This controversy between both soccer federations is very much alive. Costa has played two friendly matches for the Brazilian national team, despite being selected by Spain and officially announcing his intention to play under Spain’s revered coach Vicente del Bosque.

Pro: Personal Ties & Global Dominance

Describing his relationship with Spain, Costa explains: “What I have accomplished in my life is thanks to this country. Here I feel valued for the daily work I do, and feel the warmth of the people.” He justifies his decision because his career has been mostly in Spain since he was born.

But, has he made the right move? He’s certainly associating himself with a strong force in the game. With Spain, Diego Costa will be part of an internationally-prominent team, winner of two consecutive European Championships and current defender of the World Championship title. Ranked #1 in the FIFA world standings, Spain is the country to beat. There is no doubt Costa is betting on the winning horse.

Con: Burning Sponsorship Bridges

But the decision might cast a shadow on Costa when it comes to sponsorship. What brand or company would sponsor his image rights, when he has completely closed the door on an upcoming market with as much potential as Brazil?

Brazil, whose fans live by and for the sport. Brazil, sometimes called “the country of 200 million coaches.” Costa has actually been declared “non friendly” by the delegates of the Brazilian Soccer Federation. This adds a unique risk to any potential sponsorship.

Let’s not forget the Spanish brands already present in Brazil, such as Vivo, Sacyr, Banco Santander, BBVA, Acciona, etc. Many of these are already engaging consumers through soccer and some also sponsor Spain’s National Soccer team, where Diego Costa will play. This matter could cause a negative impact on the opinion of the Canarinha followers back in Brazil.

Has Costa Made the Right Choice?

As of today he has been called in to play friendly matches, but there is fierce competition to play within Spain’s national team, from players such as Torres (Chelsea FC), Soldado (Tottenham Hotspur), Negredo (Manchester City), Villa (Atlético de Madrid), and Llorente (Juventus).

There’s also fierce competition between two sports brands exploring sponsoring Costa through his boots (currently blackout cleats) and image rights. And what do you know? It just so happens that one is with Brazil and the other with Spain.

Has Costa made the right choice? Only time will tell.

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