Wilfried Zaha International
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Which players have appeared for different sides at International level?

| 10.11.2020
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We look back into the history books during the International break

With more International football on the horizon including friendlies and UEFA Nations League fixtures, we’re casting our eyes through the history books.

Declan Rice has been included in the England squad for their fixture against the Republic of Ireland, who Rice represented three times at a senior level, so we’re looking at other players who have switched their International allegiance during their career.

We’d like to give honourable mentions to a few, including Alex Bruce, jumping from Republic of Ireland duty to a Northern Irish international.

Other mentions go to Nacer Chadli, who picked up one cap for Morocco before being called up for Belgium, and Geoffrey Kondogbia, who achieved five French caps before switching to represent Central African Republic.

But we’ve gone with a list of five famous names, starting with a Real Madrid legend.

Ferenc Puskás (Hungary & Spain)

Ferenc Puskas International

One of the most prolific goalscorers of all time, Ferenc Puskás scored goals wherever he went at club and International level, with 706 goals in 718 career games.

That was until the Hungarian icon switched his international allegiance to Spain at the latter end of his career. Puskás had represented the Hungarian national team 85 times before retiring from the International stage in 1956.

But in 1961, the Los Blancos forward took Spanish nationality and received his first international call up for the Spanish national team.

His international career for Spain only lasted four matches, playing in the 1962 World Cup but failing to score in all appearances. He subsequently retired from international football after the World Cup in Chile.

Michel Platini (France & Kuwait)

One of the most exciting attacking midfielders of his generation, Michel Platini’s career was full of success, including three successive Ballon d’Or awards between 1983 and 1985.

Le Roi was known for his staggering ability on the ball, as well as his leadership on the pitch, helping Juventus to two Serie A titles and a European Cup during his time in Turin, but his success wasn’t limited to the domestic stage.

Platini represented France at Olympic level, before turning out for Les Bleus in three World Cups, and while they were unable to achieve success on the biggest international stage, he was able to play a part in their UEFA European Championship in 1984.

The Frenchman was capped 72 times for his country, scoring 41 goals in the process before retiring in 1987. But in November 1988, Platini came out of international retirement to represent Kuwait in a friendly against Soviet Union, where he played 21 minutes in a 2-0 defeat.

Thiago Motta (Brazil & Italy)

Thiago Motta International

The Brazilian-born midfield maestro has represented some of the world’s biggest clubs at a domestic level, including Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.

But Thiago Motta is another of those players that didn’t only transfer between teams at a club level, he also managed to do it on the international stage too.

Motta represented his native Brazil twice, making his debut in 2003 in the Gold Cup. Despite featuring in a side filled with the Brazilian u23 side, it was considered a full international debut, and therefore he was awarded a full cap from FIFA.

But after failing to receive another call-up from his native country, he received his first call-up from the Italian national side, as Motta possessed dual nationality through his paternal grandfather being Italian.

His request was approved by FIFA, and the midfielder went on to become an instrumental component to a fantastic Italian side, who narrowly missed out on winning UEFA Euro 2012, claiming 30 caps in five years.

Wilfried Zaha (England & Ivory Coast)

Think all the way back to November 2012, when Wilfried Zaha was producing some of most scintillating football the Championship has ever seen. So much so, that his flare caught England manager Roy Hodgson’s eye enough to call him up for a friendly against Sweden.

His debut came in the same game as Raheem Sterling’s for the Three Lions, with Zaha replacing the now Manchester City winger in the 83rd minute. Zaha went on to claim another England international cap but was left out of following squads.

Due to both of Zaha’s international appearances for the Three Lions falling in non-competitive fixtures, that allowed the Ivorian Football Federation to poach the Crystal Palace icon to represent The Elephants, despite current England boss Gareth Southgate trying his best to stop it happening.

Zaha was called up to the Ivory Coast squad for the first time for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and has since gone on to make 18 appearances and scoring five goals.

Diego Costa (Brazil & Spain)

Diego Costa International

Potentially the most famous international switch in recent years, Diego Costa has managed to wrestle himself into the hearts of many adoring football fans from his aggressive style of play, rarely seen in the modern day.

But the Brazilian-born striker had a slow start to things in his career, making loan move after loan move from Atletico Madrid, before finally finding his feet at Real Valladolid and re-joining Atleti in 2010.

In 2013, Costa’s form gave him his first call-up for the Brazilian national team under Luiz Felipe Scolari, facing Russia and Italy in friendlies in March.

But in September of the same year, Costa and the Royal Spanish Football Federation requested for Costa’s international allegiance to be changed to the Spaniards after he’d been granted Spanish nationality in July.

Six months later, Costa wore the famous red of Spain for the first time against Italy, before making the 2014 World Cup squad. He’s since gone on to score 10 international goals in 24 appearances for La Roja.

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Author

Drew Goodsell

Drew is a journalism graduate who closely follows American sports, focussing on the NBA and NFL. He also has a keen interest in all things football, paying regular attention to the Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.