You may not know it, but many football players are bi-national, and have to “choose” a country to play for. Imagine if KB9 had played for Algeria (because he could have), we would have been less clever, and he’s not the only one. So let’s check out what would happen if the cards were dealt again.
1. Karim Benzema could have played for Algeria
We start strong, know that the KB9 could have played for Algeria. Benzema was born in Bron, in the suburbs of Lyon, and he grew up in this same city. The question for Benzema never really arose, he started football at the age of 9 in his hometown of Bron, then was quickly spotted by OL and later trained with the Lyonnais. But he still has dual nationality, so technically he could have played for Algeria. Just imagine if that had been the case…after that since Benzema was not selected for many years maybe it wouldn’t have changed much after all.
2. Aubameyang could have played for the Blues
As we know Aubameyang has a dual nationality: Gabonese and French. And to the great misfortune of the blues, he made the choice to play for Gabon even if he did all his junior career in French clubs, and he always played in Europe. He was born in Laval, but will still choose to play as an international in Gabon, although he was coveted by France, a more than commendable choice.
3. Riyad Mahrez for France
Another beautiful stallion lost to France (pardon my expression). Mahrez, who plays in the Algerian team, with which he won CAN 2019, could very well have played in France given that he also has French nationality. Mahrez was born in Sarcelle and even if he was coveted by French coaches, he declared in 2016 in the press: “My father often took me with him on vacation to Algeria, I had since felt more Algerian, and that kept me at heart to wear the jersey of Algeria. I am very happy to have fulfilled this dream”. He was not totally wrong, little Riyad, he is clearly the Algerian playmaker and the one who offers the CAN to the fennecs in 2019, it’s not nothing.
4. Mario Gomez, and Spain
Gomez, who has always played with Germany, could have played for Spain, but Spain never asked him and he therefore logically played for Germany without asking too many questions. Gomez explains that he feels as much Spanish as German, but that for football he will always support Germany. Well that’s quite logical given that he played for them.
5. Boateng for Ghana
And here is another German who could have played in a different team. This time it is Ghana. Bayern’s iconic player, Boateng is now playing for OL, and he has always played in European teams. He quickly became part of the hopes of the German national team and will continue to evolve with the Mannschaft thereafter, even if he has already been coveted by Ghana. His brother Kevin-Prince Boateng will decide to play with Ghana.
6. Camoranesi, for Argentina
The Italian player was born in Argentina to Italian immigrant parents, and began his professional football debut in his country of birth. In 2002, he joined the ranks of Juve, and made eye to the Italian coach. As Camoranesi has dual nationality thanks to his parents, he accepts and starts with the Squadra Azzura. He will have done well, because it was with them that he won the 2006 World Cup.
7. Deco, for Brazil
Deco played for Portugal, when he could have played for Brazil. Born in Brazil to a father of Portuguese origin, he was naturalized in the late 90s after playing for several Portuguese clubs, including Benfica and Porto.
Deco will become with the Portuguese, one of the best midfielders of his time, he will be a euro finalist in 2004, but also 3rd at the 2006 World Cup.
8. Ryan Giggs played for Wales when he could have played for England
Ryan Giggs made a bold choice (and one that didn’t pay too much in terms of track record) to play for Wales rather than England. He spent his entire career at Manchester United, becoming a club legend, and yet he will choose his country of heart, Wales. He will be the pride of the Welsh, but he will not win much with them.
9. Kanouté, for France
Like a lot of players in this top, Kanouté could have played for France but wanted to evolve with Mali. He was first selected by the U-19s of the France team, but knowing that he is a binational, he obtains an agreement from FIFA to play with Mali, which calls him on the eve of the CAN 2019. Mali came 4th in this edition, so it’s not disgusting.
10. Miroslave Klose, for Poland
We certainly don’t know it, but both of Klose’s parents are of Polish origin, and it was when Klose was 9 years old that they all decided to immigrate to Germany. But fortunately Klose made the choice to play for Germany since he will become one of the best players in the history of this country. Winner of the 2014 World Cup, top scorer in the history of the World Cup, second most capped player in the national team, in short he is rather very strong.
11. Nico Kovac, for Germany
The Croatian player was born in Germany to Croatian parents and chose to play for his parents’ native country. He quickly became a very important player for the Croatian selection, with which he participated in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, but also at Euro 2004 and 2008.
12. Marco Senna, for Brazil
Marco Senna was a Spanish international for a few years, but knowing that he was born in Brazil, he could have played for the Seleçao. He played as a defensive midfielder in Brazil for the vast majority of his career before trying his hand at Villarreal in Europe. The Spanish federation then does everything possible, even kidnapping his parents, no ok I lied. For him Spain will have been a paying choice, because after his naturalization, he will participate in the 2006 World Cup and will win the Euro in 2008.
13. David Trezeguet, for Argentina
I know you’re shocked, and yet it’s true Trezeguet could have played for Argentina. Trezeguet was born in Rouen, to Argentinian parents and very young, he returned to Argentina. He therefore spent his early years in Buenos Aires, but dreamed of evolving in France, so he applied for a French passport at the French consulate in Argentina. In 1995, he tried out for PSG but the leaders finally refused him (mdr these big buffoons), fortunately AS Monaco will believe in him and sign him quickly. Some time later he evolved with the France U23 team. The rest we know, he will be winner of the 1998 World Cup and finalist in 2006, yeah fortunately he dreamed of playing in France as a child.
14. Patrick Vieira, for Senegal
Viera was born in Senegal, and arrived in Trappes with his family when he was a young teenager. He first evolves in the local club. He was quickly noticed by the French coaches and in 1995 he was called up to the France U23 team by Domenech. At the age of 20 he had his first selection in the jersey of the France team, and in 1998 Aimé Jacquet kept him in his group to compete in the World Cup which he would win, just like Euro 2000, and like Trézégute, he will also be a finalist in the World Cup in 2006.
15. Zidane, for Algeria
We end this top in style with a crazy info, Zidane, in another world, could have played for Algeria (crazy thing). Zizou was born in Marseille to Algerian parents, so he has dual nationality. As we know, Zidane immediately evolved in the youth teams of the French selection, so there was no doubt about the player, fortunately for us.