Taking to the pitch to represent your home country is a crowning moment for any player. To represent your nation at the highest level and on a global stage is no easy achievement. However, for some players this is less straightforward and a choice has to be made. Footballers with two nationalities, or those who have earned citizenship in a new country, can often find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place – which national team do I play for? Today we take a look at 5 footballers who have played for two different countries.
Footballers who have played for two different countries
Known for his off-the-ball antics and fiery temper, just as much as his abilities in front of goal, Diego Costa is first on our list of footballers who have played for two different countries. His first two caps at international level were for his native Brazil, where he played two friendlies against Italy and Russia in 2013.
After gaining citizenship at the back end of the same year, Costa requested a move to the play for the Spanish national team and was subsequently called up in 2014. Since then he has gone on to represent Spain at both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, scoring 10 goals in his 24 appearances.
The former Bundeligsa defensive-mid turned indoor soccer star (yes, you read that right) ,Jermaine Jones, began his international career with Germany’s U21s before stepping up to represent the United States in 2010.
Jones’ move was permitted on the basis of his dual-nationality, as well as the fact he had only played for Germany in a friendly game, meaning he was eligible for the switch.
Outside of a 2 match spell at Manchester United and a few months in Cardiff, Wilfried Zaha is just a whisker away from joining the one-club players list. The Crystal Palace devotee spent 6 years at the Eagles youth academy before his move to the senior team in 2010.
Despite club success and a good run of form in his two England friendlies, Zaha requested the switch to his native Ivory Coast in time for the 2017 African Cup of Nations, where the returning champions were unfortunately knocked out in the group stages.
Born in Berlin to a German mother and Ghanaian father, Kevin-Prince Boateng rose up in the ranks of the German leagues, with a 13 year adolescent stint with Hertha BSC.
Boateng represented Germany’s youth team in both U19 and U21. His on-pitch performances gained him the attention of the Ghanaian coaching staff, who made attempts to bring the young midfielder over to their camp for the 2006 World Cup.
This switch was rejected up until 2009 following a FIFA rule change, and Boateng made his move and debut in 2010. The 2010 World Cup also saw Kevin-Prince face off against his brother Jerome, where Ghana held on to a tense 1-0 victory against Germany which against all odds, put them through to the next round.
Next up on our list of footballers who represented two different countries is another England international youth player, Victor Moses.
Another Crystal Palace academy product and a key figure in Chelsea’s 2016 Premier League title win, as well as short stints at both Liverpool and Inter Milan, Moses is known for his pace and on-ball ability, but is often criticised for a distinct lack of converting chances in front of goal.
Moses represented England from U16 right through to U21 before he decided to make his move over to the Nigerian national side in 2011 alongside Shola Ameobi. His call up for the 2013 African Cup of Nations also saw Nigeria lift the cup, beating out Burkina Faso in a 1-0 win.