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Why can Real Madrid’s Brahim Díaz still choose Morocco after previously playing for Spain?

Brahim played for the Spanish national team in 2021 but could still decide to represent the 2022 World Cup semi-finalists.

Brahim Díaz celebra el gol que marcó al RB Leipzig en el partido de ida de octavos de final de la Champions.

The international tug-of-war for Brahim Díaz continues, with both Spain and Morocco including the Real Madrid playmaker on their roster shortlists for two international matches they will play in March.

Spain and Morocco both pre-select Brahim for international friendlies

As revealed by AS, the 24 year old, who was born in Spain to a Spanish mother and a Moroccan father, officially obtained Moroccan nationality last week, enabling him to be called up by the 2022 World Cup semi-finalists, who informed Los Blancos Brahim had been pre-selected for friendly games against Angola and Mauritania on 23 and 26 March respectively.

However, Spain have done the same for their two friendlies against Colombia (22 March) and Brazil (26 March), although the final roster lists for both countries have still to be confirmed. Should Brahim ultimately be called upon by both nations, he will be forced to choose one over the other.

The Madrid attacker, who has been in fine form in recent weeks, has already featured for Spain, scoring on his only cap in a friendly against Lithuania in June 2021. He has also represented La Roja 28 times at various youth levels. However, his intention to switch allegiances to Morocco has previously been reported, with the Africans confident they will get their man now that the necessary admin work is out of the way.

Brahim Díaz tug-of-war: what are FIFA’s eligibility rules?

According to FIFA regulations, players are permitted to represent one nation in senior friendly matches and still be able to switch to another, as is Brahim’s case.

A recent change has also made it easier for players to change national team, even if they have already played competitively.

As of September 2020, a soccer player under the age of 21 who has dual nationality can switch national team if they have played no more than than three matches (either competitive fixtures and friendly games) for their “first” country or don’t play for that nation for three years. If the player has, however, participated in an international tournament, such as the World Cup, European Championships or Copa América, they cannot then change.