News broke earlier this week that Manchester City’s French defender, Aymeric Laporte is set to join the Spain national team ahead of Euro 2020. The centre-back who is turning 27 later this month is yet to make a first team appearance for Les Bleus, but has represented his country at under-17, -18, -19 and -21 level – captaining each of those sides.
Laporte has been called up to the French national squad on four occasions, most recently being August 2019. However, on that occasion, he was forced to withdraw two days later through injury, and is yet to receive a further call-back. French coach Didier Deschamps has since favoured Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma, although the nation is also blessed with left-footed defenders, and there is competition for places.
Now with Euro 2020 looming, and fans gearing up to an exciting summer, while checking the latest Euro bet markets, it has been revealed that Laporte – who would qualify to represent Spain through his Basque grandparents – will pursue a spot in Luis Enrique’s squad, after being snubbed by Deschamps. It was through this system that Laporte was previously allowed to join Athletic Bilbao, who have a strict policy to sign players who are native to, or have trained in the Basque region (of either Spain or France).
It’s also believed that La Roja have been on the defender’s radar since the last European Championship in 2016, when then-manager Julen Lopetegui was interested in Laporte. It was around this time that Laporte received a call-up to the French national team, but never made it off the bench.
While the decision has been met with uproar amongst the French press and punditry, after Laporte made 51 appearances for the youth teams, France’s loss is certainly Spain’s gain. Laporte would provide competition for Enrique, but could play alongside teammate Eric García, while also being considered a reasonable successor to Sergio Ramos.
It isn’t the first time that a footballer has switched allegiances – and it certainly won’t be the last. Here are the names of some others who have changed which country they represent internationally.
Diego Costa: Brazil to Spain
The striker earned two caps for Brazil back in 2013, both in friendlies, before switching allegiances. Later that year, he had been granted Spanish nationality, and made his debut for La Roja in March 2014. Costa has gone on to amass 24 caps, scoring 10 goals.
Kevin-Prince Boateng: Germany to Ghana
The paternal half-brother of Jerome, who plays for Bayern Munich and German national team, Kevin-Prince was born in Berlin to a German mother and Ghanaian father. He represented Germany at youth level, but switched allegiances in 2010, after gaining a Ghanaian passport and telling authorities he had no interest in representing Germany. Boateng represented Ghana between 2010 and 2014, winning 15 caps.
Nacer Chadli: Morocco to Belgium
Born in Belgium to a father of Moroccan descent, the dual-citizen played for both. Having starred in a friendly for Morocco in 2010, but never featuring in a competitive match, Chadli was able to switch to the nation has had expressed intent in playing for – Belgium. He scored his first international goal in a Euro 2012 qualifier, and has gone on to make 68 appearances.
Thiago Motta: Brazil to Italy
Brazilian born Motta earned two caps for his native, although featuring in the Under-23 squad at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Motta qualified for dual-citizenship through his paternal grandfather and went on to make his Italian debut in February 2011, coming off the bench in a friendly match. He won 30 caps for the Azzurri, scoring just once.