5 footballers who have represented more than one country

Italy v Spain - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016
Thiago Motta playing for Italy in the Euros

With the World Cup on the horizon, many players are preparing with intense enthusiasm to represent their respective countries in the forthcoming all-important competition.

There are numerous players who view the contest as the climax of their career and as such, wearing their country's badge means a lot to these players. They find it a matter of great honour and pride to represent their nation.

However, there are some players who have swapped their national teams, sometimes even more than once. Consequently, these players have achieved the rare feat of representing more than one nation.

So without further ado, let us take a look at 5 players who possessed the daring to play for more than one country.

#5 Thiago Motta

Thiago Motta was born to Italian parents in Sao Bernardo de Campo, Brazil. He featured for the Brazilian national team at youth levels and won the international cap in 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, he had 'no desire to represent the senior Brazil side' and switched to Italian national team, making his debut for Azzurri in 2011.

Motta later revealed, "I played for Brazil through to under-23 level, but I never even dreamed of playing for the senior Brazil side."

"To be totally honest, I never had that desire that all Brazilians have to be part of the Selecao. It's a beautiful dream and I respect it, but I never shared it."

"I was in Europe and I was convinced that the best thing for me was Italy. I feel like I'm an Italian who was just born in Brazil. Thanks to my family, I had the fortune and the privilege to get an Italian passport."

"I'm happy with the Azzurri; I'm comfortable. I grew as a footballer and as a person thanks to Italy."

The 35-year-old went on to represent Italy in Euro 2012, World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016. He featured in 30 matches for Italy and managed a goal.

Motta was generally used as a deep-lying playmaker during his appearances for Italy. He is a player who is strong in the air and can start plays from the back with ease, an ability which Cesare Prandelli and Antonio Conte exploited during their stints as Italy's managers.

#4 Michel Platini

French midfielder Michel Platini (L) fig
French midfielder Michel Platini (L) fig

The one-time UEFA president, Michel Platini, was a French legend. He has won 72 international caps for the French national team from 1976 to 1987, managing 41 goals in the process.

The record was only surpassed by Thierry Henry who scored his 42nd international goal in October 2007. Platini is also the prize-winner of three consecutive Ballon d'Ors from 1983 to 1985.

Although he had announced his retirement from all football, on 27 November 1988, Platini returned from retirement to represent Kuwait in an international friendly against the Soviet Union owing to Kuwaiti Emir's request.

As a result, he incorporated himself in the list of players who have appeared for more than one country at full international level.

#3 Diego Costa

Diego Costa

Diego Costa was born in Brazil in October 1988. He was only called up once to the Brazilian national team when they were playing friendlies before the 2014 World Cup. Costa appeared in two friendlies against Italy and Russia respectively, coming off the bench in both.

He later swapped his national team for Spain as he had only appeared in friendlies but not in any official FIFA games for Brazil.

Costa revealed, "It was very difficult to choose between the country where you were born and the country that has given you everything."

"I looked at everything and saw that it was right and best to play for Spain because this is where I have done everything. All that I have in my life was given to me by this country."

"I have a special affection. Here I feel very appreciated for all that I do and I feel the love of the people."

He represented Spain's national team for the first time in February 2014. Since then, he has featured in 18 matches for Spain, scoring 7 times in the process.

Costa has also been selected for the upcoming World Cup by Julen Lopetegui ahead of Alvaro Morata. He is most likely to spearhead Spain's attack as a lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation.

#2 Luis Monti

Luis Monti

Luis Monti was born in 1901 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is well-known for boasting the distinction of having played in two FIFA World Cup final matches with two different national teams.

He first featured for the Argentine national team in 1924, playing a crucial part in inspiring them to the Uruguay 1930 final. Nevertheless, La Albiceleste finished runners-up as they were defeated by the hosts.

Monti won 16 caps for Argentina from 1924 to 1931 with 5 goals before switching to Italian national team.

Widely known as “Doble Ancho” (Double Wide), Monti signed for the Italian club Juventus in 1931, where he helped them in achieving four successive league titles.

He was called up to the Italian national team in 1932. In 1934, he won the FIFA World Cup with Azzurri, making him the first and only player, to date, to compete in two World Cup Finals for different nations.

#1 Alfredo Di Stéfano

Alfredo Di Stefano

Alfredo Di Stefano was born in July 1926 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is widely regarded as the most complete footballer of all time.

Di Stefano shockingly played for not two but three different national teams; firstly for native Argentina, then Colombia and eventually Spain. For Argentina, he managed six goals in six caps before switching to Colombia.

For Colombia, Di Stefano scored six goals in seven matches. He then swapped for Spain's national team where he scored 23 goals in 31 appearances.

However, despite playing for three different national teams, Di Stefano never got the opportunity to play in the World Cup.

Although the Argentine was not quite successful internationally, he was excellent at club level. Arguably the greatest player in Real Madrid's history, Di Stefano helped Real Madrid clinch five European Cups during his spell at the Spanish capital!

After announcing retirement, the Argentina-born forward began plying his trade as a manager from 1967 to 1991.

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Edited by Amit Mishra
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