With the Euro 2020 and the Copa America approaching, today we'll be looking at footballers who changed their nationality for professional reasons. FIFA approves players to switch nationalities and represent a country of their choice on certain conditions. They should not have played more than three matches for that country before the age of 21. Secondly, they should not have featured at a World Cup or any continental tournament before making the switch.
Here are five reasons top players who switched nationalities:
Aymeric Laporte (France to Spain)
The Manchester City central defender is the most recent player to switch nationalities. He has therefore left the French camp and will now be playing for Spain. The process was initiated on his behalf by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and FIFA approved the change of nationality last week.
The France-born player made a total of 51 appearances for Les Bleus during his youth. He had not featured in a senior side yet. The closest he came to representing France was in August 2019 when he was called up for France's Euro 2020 qualifying fixtures against Albania and Andorra. He was however injured few days before the matches and was thus withdrawn from the camp.
The Boateng brothers
Jerome Boateng chose to represent Germany, where he won the 2014 World Cup. He has played for the German side since junior year up until he got his senior call-up. His sibling Kevin-Prince however remained loyal to Ghana, although he represented Germany in the U21 squads before making a switch in 2010 for Ghana.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (DR Congo to England)
The Man United fullback was born in England but he's of Congolese descent. He made a single appearance for DR Congo U20s 2015. However, after an impressive career for Crystal Palace, Wan-Bissaka was called up to the England junior team. He went on to be called to the senior side in 2018.
Sadio Berahiho (England to Burundi)
Berahiho was born in Burundi but was raised in England. He represented the country in his entire junior level. He was subsequently called up for the UEFA Euro Qualifiers in 2016 hut played in neither matches. He made his switch back to represent Burundi in 2015.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (France to Gabon)
Arsenal captain Aubameyang was born and raised in France and Spain. He represented the blues in junior football before deciding to play for the Gabon national team which his father once captained. Aubameyang also has Spanish citizenship.
Diego Costa(Brazil to Spain)
Costa was born in Brazil. He has a dual citizen of Brazil and Spain. Before switching to Spain, Costa had played twice for Brazil in 2013. When he was granted Spanish citizenship in September that year, Costa opted to represent Spain. He has played for the Spaniards in the World Cup and Euros.
Rafinha Alcantara (Spain to Brazil)
Though born in Brazil, Rafinha Rafinha played for Spain during his youth, earning 14 caps. However, in 2012, Rafinha switched allegiance to Brazil, going on to represent the under-20 side at the 2013 South American Youth Championship in Argentina.
His brother, Liverpool midfielder Thiago, remained behind and represents Spain.
Delle Alli (Nigeria to England)
Alli was born in England. His father is a Nigerian. He was raised in both England and Nigeria. He has represented England in the U19s and U21s. He made his senior professional debut for England in 2015. That same year, it waa reported that Alli uad been convinced to represent Nigeria, an offer he turned down.
Jack Grealish,Kalidou Koulibaly, Ivan Rakitic, Wilfried Zaha, Neven Subotic, Fernando Amorebieta.
Do you know any other players? Kindly let us know in the comments section below.
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