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Top 10 Footballers Who Have Represented Multiple National Teams

The world of football has witnessed several players who have represented multiple national teams throughout their careers. This phenomenon, though rare, is driven by various factors, including changes in nationality, dual citizenship, and shifts in personal allegiance. 

1 Alfredo di Stefano

His career is a tale of versatility and adaptability. Di Stefano’s journey began with Argentina, where he first showcased his football prowess. However, a series of complicated events led him to play unofficial matches for Colombia. It was his move to Spain, where he became a legend at Real Madrid, that marked a significant turn. 

After acquiring Spanish citizenship, Di Stefano represented Spain in 31 matches, displaying his footballing genius beyond club football. His journey is reflective of the early era of football, where the rules were more flexible, allowing such transitions.

During the brief period when the Argentina national team was out of action, Di Stefano moved to Colombia to play for Millonarios. The Argentine, during this span, played four unofficial matches for the Colombian national team under the name of the combined XI of the Colombian league. This saw FIFA ban Di Stefano form playing national football, as he did not even possess a Colombian passport.

After moving to Spain to ply his trade for Los Blancos, his ban was revoked by FIFA after persistent attempts by the Real Madrid chiefs. Di Stefano, having acquired Spanish citizenship, made 31 appearances for La Roja and scored 23 goals for them.

2 Ferenc Puskas

Another Real Madrid legend who features on this list is Ferenc Puskas. The Hungarian started his international career with his native country, and forward netted 84 goals for Hungary in 85 appearances. Puskas became an Olympic champion in 1952, and led his nation to the final of the 1954 World Cup where he was named the tournament’s best player. The award for the best goal in a season is now named after him.

After gaining Spanish citizenship while playing for Real Madrid, Puskas devoted himself to the Spanish national team. Despite being an integral player for Los Blancos, he failed to replicate his performances for the national side. He just made 4 appearances for La Roja.

3 Michel Platini

Michel Platini was considered one of the best midfielders of his era. He enjoyed a glittering career, throughout the course of which he won three Ballon d’Ors for his heroics with Juventus and the France national team.

The former UEFA President also featured for two national teams. Platini made 72 appearances for Les Blues and scored 41 times for them. He was also part of the squad that won the UEFA Euros in 1984. After putting a sparkling run with France and Juventus to an end, he featured for Kuwait in a friendly against the Soviet Union.

4 Diego Costa

One of the most notable players to have played for two nations is Diego Costa. The Atletico Madrid striker made 2 appearances in friendlies for his native country Brazil, before switching his allegiance to Spain.

Feeling neglected by Luis Felipe Scolari, Costa decided to play for La Roja. Upon Costa receiving Spanish citizenship, the Spanish FA made a request to FIFA to allow them to induct the forward to their squad. Following FIFA’s approval, Costa has made 24 appearances for the Spanish national team and has scored 10 goals for them.

5 Thiago Motta

Thiago Motta played for various clubs throughout his career, including the likes of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Genoa, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. The midfielder has played for two national teams as well.

Motta made his debut for Brazil in the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup and went on to play 2 games for them in the same competition. Having not been called up by the Selecao for 8 years after the Gold Cup, Motta expressed his desire to play for the Italian national side.

Being a dual citizen, things worked out in his favour as he was called up by La Nazionale for a friendly against Germany in 2011. He then went on to make 30 appearances for the Italian national team and managed to score one goal for them.

6 Nacer Chadli

Nacer Chadli, being a dual citizen, had the choice to represent either Morocco or Belgium. The former Tottenham player decided to play for Morocco and made his international debut for them in a friendly against Northern Ireland in 2010.

But in the following year, Chadli expressed his desire to represent his native country Belgium. Since the midfielder did not play an official game for the Moroccans, he was allowed to switch his allegiance. Following the shift, he has won 59 caps for the Red Devils and has scored 8 goals for them.

7 Luis Monti

Luis Monti not only represented two different footballing nations, but he also holds the unimaginable achievement of being the only player to have played in a World Cup final with two different national teams.

Monti was a great midfielder who was known for his vision, and enjoyed great spells at San Lorenzo and Juventus, winning 4 Serie A titles with the Bianconeri.

Monti won 16 caps for Argentina and 18 forItaly. He lost the World Cup final with Argentina in 1930 but ended up winning the tournament with Italy in 1934.

8 Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha is one of the current batch of players who has featured for multiple nations. The Crystal Palace star earned a call up to the senior England squad to play a friendly against Sweden in 2012. He went on to make 2 appearances for the Three Lions, but both of them were in unofficial games.

In 2016, Zaha expressed his desire to play for his native country Ivory Coast, which saw him earn a call-up to the senior squad. He made his debut for the African team in 2017, and since then, he has made 17 appearances for them. Gareth Southgate tried to persuade the Crystal Palace winger to stay put in England, but he ended up making the decision to play for his homeland.

9 Declan Rice

Although he was born in London, Declan Rice was eligible to play for Ireland as his grandparents were of Irish descent. The West Ham United midfielder played three matches for Ireland before pledging his allegiance to England.

Before making the decision, Rice met Ireland manager Mick McCarthy and his assistant Robbie Keane, who affirmed that he could be their leader in the future should he choose to stay. Despite that proposition, a strong desire to play for England saw Rice choose the Three Lions over Ireland.

Following his switch in 2019, Rice has made 39 appearances for Gareth Southgate’s side, scoring twice.

10 Jermaine Jones

Jermaine Jones was born in Germany, but with his father being a U.S. Army soldier, he had the choice to play for either country. Jones made 3 appearances for Germanybut none of them were in competitive matches. After learning that that Joachim Low did not intend to integrate him into the squad, he declared to the media that he would be available to play for the United States.

Following his switch, the midfielder went on to make 69 appearances for the United States national football team, and even scored 4 goals for them during the course of his career.

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