5 players who won the Euro with their adopted nation
The Xhaka brothers facing off each other, playing for different countries; A Brazilian-born Eder scoring against Sweden and helping the Azzurri secure qualification to the round of 16. These are only two of the many examples of diversity at this year’s European Championship.
The ongoing Euros consist of many players who are playing for their adoptive country and also many who are eligible to play for countries other than their own.
Let’s rewind and look at the players who won the European Championships with their adopted country. Don’t get surprised if you find a majority of French players in this list.
#1 Patrick Vieira
Patrick Vieira was to Arsenal and French national team what Paul Scholes was to Manchester United and England. Vieira was born in Dakar, Senegal in 1976. However, when he was just eight years old, his parents moved to France and he was granted French nationality due to his grandfather serving in the French Army.
The dynamic midfielder played for a string of teams before he started with the French club AS Cannes and went on to enjoy a trophy-laden career, winning titles with likes of Arsenal, Inter Milan, and Manchester City.
The 39-year-old was a complete midfielder, known for his physical and technical abilities and possessed lethal energy levels.The former Arsenal captain had the rare ability to defend as well as attack, winning the ball back for his team at the center of midfield and starting the counter attack. This made Vieira arguably the best player in his position at that time.
Although eligible to represent his native country Senegal, Vieira opted for Les Bleus and went on to make 107 international appearances for the French national team. He won the World Cup in 1998 as well as the Euro in 2000 for his adopted country.
At Euro 2000, Vieira was as effective defending as attacking. He was rock solid at the heart of midfield along with Didier Deschamps, covering his center backs and also provided support to the attacking duo of Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane.
In fact, it was his magical run that allowed Youri Djorkaeff to score the quarter-final winner against Spain. Vieira’s all round performances earned him a spot in the team of the tournament.