Coral’s 10 footballers that have represented two nations at senior level
10 footballers to have represented two nations
Crystal Palace star and England two-cap wonder Wilfried Zaha has requested that FIFA change his international allegiance from the Three Lions to Ivory Coast, the country of his birth.
The former Manchester United winger, now 24, made his last England appearance in 2013. Having been left out in the cold by a succession of managers since, Zaha has been able to switch to being eligible for The Elephants as his only outing for the Three Lions (7/1 to have Gary Cahill as next permanent captain) were in friendlies.
That got Coral football writers thinking, so here is a list of 10 stars that have changed their minds after already representing a nation…
At the top of the list, for alphabetical reasons only, is the son of new Aston Villa boss Steve. Bruce junior, although born in England, played two friendly games for Republic of Ireland before switching allegiances to Northern Ireland. He qualified for both nations through his grandmother, and we promise the list gets better.
The current Granada midfielder had the choice of representing three countries at one stage, as his mother was Moroccan and father Spanish, but initially chose the land of his birth Belgium. After two friendlies with the Red Devils, Carcela-Gonzalez then decided to play for his motherland, and has 12 caps with Morocco to date.
West Bromwich Albion’s Chadli did the reverse of Carcela-Gonzalez, dipping his toes into the international scene with Morocco, before plunging into it with Belgium. The wingman now boasts 32 caps for the Red Devils and has scored four goals for them.
Prolific poacher Costa first had two caps for his native Brazil, before turning his back on them just before the Samba Boys hosted the World Cup and declared for world champions Spain instead. He and his new team flopped at the 2014 finals after being jeered by the home crowd, but Costa’s La Roja form is improved these days with four goals in 14 outings.
Alfredo Di Stefano
Back in the old days when international rules were more relaxed, Real Madrid icon Di Stefano switched from his homeland Argentina, who he scored six in as many matches for, to Spain after gaining citizenship. He also had four caps for Colombia, but they were unofficial fixtures.
Another Argentine-born forward to change his mind, Roma starlet Iturbe represented La Albiceleste at youth level after seeming to turn his back on the nation where he was brought up, Paraguay, whom he also represented once as a 16-year-old.
The mercurial talent has since flip flopped again after falling down the pecking order at both Roma and former loan club Bournemouth, and has now committed permanently to Paraguay, with five caps collected for La Albirroja.
With a name like Jermaine Jones, not many would think the midfielder had represented Germany, where he was born and brought up, but he did on three occasions. However, after not gaining another cap for them in two years, he decided to play for his parents’ nation USA, who he has now turned out for 50 times.
Similar to Jones, Motta was always eligible for both Brazil and Italy due to heritage, but started his international career with Brazil, where he was born. After gaining just two caps, he switched to Italy eight years after his last Samba Boys cap.
Real Madrid managed to convert another player to Spain, this time former Hungary legend Puskas, who was a clubmate of Di Stefano’s. He was nowhere near as successful for La Roja (no goals in four) as for his home nation (84 in 85).
While Croatia were not a FIFA-recognised nation until 1992, former forward Weber represented them twice earlier that year. However, he later decided to play for Belgium, who he managed to net six times in eight matches for, after qualifying through his grandfather.