8 famous footballers you probably didn't know were immigrants
Many players from Africa migrated to Europe and went on to represent different teams internationally.
In football the eligibility criteria for a player to represent any nation on the international stage are many. Everyone knows that players are allowed to represent the nation in which they are born. In addition to this, the player can represent any country in which their biological parents or grandparents were born and finally the player can also represent a nation where he has acquired citizenship.Looking at the vast opportunity these rules offer to a player, it is obvious that many players have chosen to play for countries where they migrated to, instead of playing for the country they are originally from. There are also players who chose to stay loyal to their roots instead of playing for their adopted nation.Famous examples of players choosing between the country they migrated to and the country they are originally from can be seen from a quick look at the French National team. Many players from Africa migrate to France and often go on to represent France internationally and then there are some who choose to represent the country they originally hail from. So here are eight famous players you probably didnt know are migrants.
#1 Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid and France legend Zinedine Zidane’s parents Smail and Malika immigrated to Paris in 1953 from Northern Algeria before the start of the Algerian war.
His family settled in Paris initially but moved to Marseille in the mid 1960s in search of work. His father worked as a warehouseman and a night-watchman and his mother was a housewife. They lived in Marseille’s suburb of La Castellane which was notorious for its high crime rate and unemployment.
In 1972, Zidane was born there as the youngest of five siblings and it was at Castellane where Zidane was introduced to football when he was just five years old.
Zidane was eligible to play for France because he was born there and for Algeria because his parents were born there. It is rumoured that the Algerian coach Abdelhamid Kermali was of the opinion that Zidane was not fast enough and thus decided against picking him for Algeria.
Zidane went on to represent France at the International stage and won the 1998 FIFA World Cup as well as the 2000 UEFA European Championship with his adopted homeland.