BERLIN – Germany-born Wolfsburg defender Marco Russ is in the process of switching citizenship through his Croatian wife in a bid to play for Croatia under coach Slaven Bilic at Euro 2012 in June.
The 26-year-old Russ has applied for Croatian citizenship through his spouse, Janina, and is hoping to receive clearance to play under Bilic by the time Euro 2012, to be hosted by Poland and the Ukraine, kicks off on June 8.
“The naturalisation process has already started. I’m waiting for a signal from Croatia coach Bilic,” the 26-year-old Russ told German daily Bild.
Russ is German born and bred and joined Wolfsburg in 2011 from Eintracht Frankfurt, but has yet to hold down a regular place under Wolves coach Felix Magath and has made only nine appearances in the German league.
The idea of playing for Croatia came from his wife’s desire to buy property in her home country.
“When I recently told him that I would like to buy a house there, he supported me and said he could also apply for Croatian citizenship and play for Croatia,” she said.
Croatia have been drawn in Group C at Euro 2012 and will face defending champions Spain, Italy and the Republic of Ireland.
Their biggest success on the international stage was a third-place finish at the 1998 World Cup in France.