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Footballers Who Have Crossed The International Divide

November 03, 2015

- Grant Whittington

From time to time a football player finds it necessary to switch his or her nationality or even their nation of birth in order to play international football for a country of their choice. Whilst professional footballers have no actual say as to where they’re born they can certainly think more carefully about adopting another nationality for their footballing interests. Sometimes a player has particular loyalties to a country that they weren’t necessarily born in or have simply gained citizenship in their adopted nation. We take a look at just some of the footballing greats who have made that international switch.

DIEGO COSTA

Chelsea’s star striker Diego Costa never appeared to fit in to the Brazilian line-up. The Brazil-born forward missed out on plenty of opportunities to play for his home nation mostly due to the country not having to participate in qualifying games leading up to them hosting the 2014 World Cup. So once Costa picked up Spanish citizenship as well as a passport he was now able to adopt the European country for his international career.

KEVIN-PRINCE BOATENG

Born and raised in Germany former Portsmouth player Kevin-Prince Boateng decided to change allegiances in 2009 when he selected for the German under-21 squad. Just one year later he was granted a Ghanaian passport following FIFA’s decision to alter the rules relating to players switching international sides. Ironically another year on and Boateng announced his retirement from international football at just 24 but then represented Ghana at the 2014 World Cup. However he was soon on a plane back home for disciplinary reasons during the group stages.

MIROSLAV KLOSE

The Polish born striker Miroslav Klose began his international career in 2001 and chose Germany as his national team. Klose’s German father Josef stayed in the Silesian city of Opole in Poland following World War II and thanks to his son’s impressive performance in the Bundesliga during the late 90’s earned him the chance to play for Germany. Since then he has gone on to become FIFA’s World Cup all-time record goalscorer.

THIAGO MOTTA

Despite playing for his home country in the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup the Brazilian-born midfielder Thiago Motta never made an appearance for the senior side and was therefore eligible to play for Italy thanks mainly to the fact that he had an Italian grandfather on his father’s side. He has represented Italy since 2011 and helped his team win the runner-up spot at the 2012 European Championships.

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