Fifteen men's footballers who play for a country they weren't born in
We take a look at some of the players who were born in one country, but have ended up representing another at full international level.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: born in France, plays for Gabon
Aubameyang was born in Laval, France, and was also eligible for Gabon and Spain, as his father is Gabonese and his mother is Spanish. After winning a cap for France Under-21s in 2009, the striker made his senior international debut for Gabon the same year. The 32-year-old, who began his career in Italy, is also said to have rejected a call-up to the Italian Under-19s as a youngster.
Eduardo Camavinga: born in Angola, plays for France
Camavinga, who signed for Real Madrid last summer, was born to Congolese parents at a refugee camp in Angola in 2002, as his family fled the Second Congo War. When he was two, they moved to France, where he grew up and began his football career. He was called up by France Under-21s shortly after being granted French citizenship in 2019, before graduating to the senior side in 2020. He has three caps for France.
Alphonso Davies: born in Ghana, plays for Canada
Davies was born in the Ghanaian city of Buduburam, at a refugee camp his parents had arrived at after escaping civil war in their native Liberia. When he was five, his family moved to Edmonton, Canada. After starring for Canadian age-group teams, he made his senior international debut in 2017, at just 16. He has 30 caps for Canada.
Achraf Hakimi: born in Spain, plays for Morocco
Hakimi was born in the Spanish capital, Madrid, and came through the youth set-up at Real Madrid, having joined the club at the age of eight. However, his entire international career has been spent in the colours of Morocco, where both his parents are from. The Paris Saint-Germain full-back has earned 47 Moroccan caps since making his debut in 2016.
Erling Braut Haaland: born in England, plays for Norway
Haaland was born in Leeds, during his father Alf-Inge’s spell at Leeds United. He returned to Norway with his family at a very early age, however, and began his football career with hometown club Byrne. After playing for Norway from Under-15 to Under-21 level, the Borussia Dortmund striker made his senior debut in 2019. He has 16 caps.
Jorginho: born in Brazil, plays for Italy
Born in Santa Catarina, Brazil, Jorginho graduated from the youth academy at Serie A club Hellas Verona, and has an Italian passport. He made his debut for Italy Under-21s in 2012, before moving up to the senior team in 2016. A Euro 2020 winner last summer, the Chelsea midfielder has 43 Italian caps.
Kalidou Koulibaly: born in France, plays for Senegal
The Napoli centre-back was born in Vosgos, France, and represented the country at Under-20 level. In 2015, however, he committed to Senegal, and has gone on to win 59 caps. Curiously, Koulibaly was then scouted by France boss Didier Deschamps, despite no longer being eligible for Les Bleus. “I think he must have missed something,” the defender said.
Aymeric Laporte: born in France, plays for Spain
Born in Agen, France, Laporte played for his native country at several age-group levels, including the Under-21s, but despite being called up to the senior squad on more than one occasion, never made his debut. The defender, who spent eight years in LaLiga with Athletic Club, then declared for Spain after receiving Spanish citizenship in 2021, and so far has 14 caps for La Roja.
Riyad Mahrez: born in France, plays for Algeria
The Manchester City winger was born in the French city of Sarcelles, to an Algerian father and Moroccan mother. Despite growing up in France and spending the early years of his career there, he says his “heart is more Algerian”, and made his debut for the Desert Foxes in 2014. He currently has 74 caps for Algeria.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic: born in Spain, plays for Serbia
Milinkovic-Savic was born in Lleida, Spain, where his father, Nikola Milinkovic, was a basketball player for the city’s club. After spending his early years in Spain, the midfielder had spells in the youth academies in Portugal and Austria, before returning to his parents’ homeland to join Vojvodina. He has only ever played for Serbia, representing the country at age-group level before making his senior bow in 2017. He has 29 caps.
Giovanni Reyna: born in England, plays for the US
The son of former midfielder Claudio Reyna, Giovanni was born in Sunderland in 2002, during his father’s spell at the Premier League club. His mother, Danielle Egan, was also a US international footballer. Reyna played for the US’ Under-15s, Under-16s and Under-17s, before being handed his USMNT debut in 2020. He has since won 11 caps.
Raheem Sterling: born in Jamaica, plays for England
Sterling was born in Kingston, Jamaica, before moving to the UK capital, London, with his mother at the age of five. After playing for England from Under-16 to Under-21 level, he made his senior debut for the Three Lions in 2012, when he was still only a 17-year-old. The Manchester City forward now has 73 caps for England.
Thiago Alcántara: born in Italy, plays for Spain
The son of former Brazil midfielder Mazinho, Thiago was born in San Pietro Vernotico, Italy, while his father was playing for Lecce. Eligible for Italy, Brazil and Spain, the 30-year-old opted for La Roja, and has won 46 caps since his debut in 2011.
Marcus Thuram: born in Italy, plays for France
Thuram was born in Italy in 1997, while his father, French World Cup winner Lilian, was playing for Serie A club Parma. The Borussia Mönchengladbach striker has dual nationality, but has only ever played for France at all levels. He won his first full cap in 2020, and has so far turned out for Les Bleus four times.
Hakim Ziyech: born in Netherlands, plays for Morocco
The winger was born in Flevoland, Netherlands, and has spent much of his career in the country. But despite playing for Dutch age-group teams, in 2015 he chose to represent Morocco, the nation of his parents’ birth, at full international level. The 29-year-old has 40 Moroccan caps.
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