Jamal Musiala snubbed England for Germany but he isn’t the first to switch international allegiances

Germany

England received a major blow after it emerged that Bayern Munich wonderkid Jamal Musiala had opted to represent Germany at the international level.

After taking German football by storm, England would have been desperate for him to pull on the Three Lions jersey given he represented the country at both Under 17 and Under 21 level while also rising through Chelsea’s academy.

But Musiala, who was born in Stuttgart to a German mother and British-Nigerian father, has now pledged his allegiance to the 2014 World Cup champions.

The 17-year-old is expected to accept an invitation to join up with Germany’s squad next month and now there is no turning back for a player tipped for a big future.

The teenager has already shone at such a tender age in Germany for Bayern, most recently against Lazio in the Champions League on Tuesday after scoring in the 4-1 rout.

Germany will be celebrating but England will be left ruing his decision, while Gareth Southgate could reportedly also lose Manchester United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to DR Congo if he fails to pick him in his upcoming squads.

The practice of switching international allegiances certainly isn’t new, however. Here, Sportsmail has taken a look at 10 high-profile players that have made the switch…

Jamal Musiala has opted to represent Germany at senior level after shining for Bayern Munich
Jamal Musiala has opted to represent Germany at senior level after shining for Bayern Munich

Musiala has played for England at Under 17 and Under 21 level but is set to cut his ties
Musiala has played for England at Under 17 and Under 21 level but is set to cut his ties

1) Diego Costa: Brazil, Spain

The charismatic striker, who was born in Lagarto, featured twice for Brazil but both these games came in friendlies against Italy and Russia.

But while he was enjoying a breakout season at a senior level in 2013-14, when he scored 27 league goals for Atletico Madrid, he decided to represent Spain at the international level.

In October 2013, Costa declared his intentions to play for Spain, sending a letter to the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), after being granted Spanish citizenship in July.

Brazil boss at that time Luiz Felipe Scolari certainly wasn’t best pleased, insisting: ‘A Brazilian player who refuses to wear the shirt of the Brazilian national team and compete in a World Cup in your country is automatically withdrawn. He is turning his back on a dream of millions, to represent our national team, the five-time champions in a World Cup in Brazil.’

Costa didn’t look back though and not long after making his debut for Spain in March 2014 against Italy. He has played two World Cups for his country, the first which was in 2014 in Brazil, and has gone on score 10 times at the international level.

Diego Costa began his international career with Brazil, his country of birth But he soon opted to play for Spain, and has featured in two World Cups
Diego Costa played for Brazil in two friendlies before switching allegiances to Spain

2) Wilfried Zaha: England, Ivory Coast

From an English point of view, Zaha’s decision to represent Ivory Coast is arguably the most high-profile one of all.

The Crystal Palace winger featured twice for England at senior level, enduring brief cameos against Sweden and Scotland under Roy Hodgson.

But after he failed to make a competitive appearance for the Three Lions, Zaha decided to play for Ivory Coast in 2016 – having been born in Abidjan before moving over to England at the age of four.

Despite Gareth Southgate making attempts to convince him to remain part of the England set-up, Zaha stayed firm in his decision and would make his debut for Ivory Coast in January 2017.

Later that month, Zaha featured for Ivory Coast at the 2017 African Cup of Nations – starting every game – but they were eliminated at the group stage.

Wilfried Zaha in action for England in a friendly against Sweden After failing to make a competitive appearance for England, Zaha opted for Ivory Coast

Wilfried Zaha played twice for England in friendlies before opting to represent Ivory Coast

3) Jack Grealish: Republic of Ireland, England

While featuring for Ireland at youth level, England was known to have been pursuing the Aston Villa midfielder, who has in turn become their club captain.

Grealish was eligible to play for either Ireland (via his grandparents) or England (his place of birth – having been born in Birmingham).

But despite playing for Ireland at Under 17, 18, and 21 levels, Grealish finally committed to England in 2016, and his time with the Three Lions is just starting to take off.

Grealish won the 2016 Toulon Tournament with England, where he shone alongside the likes of James Ward-Prowse and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

And after plenty of calls for him to finally earn a senior call-up, Southgate duly awarded Grealish with a spot in the Three Lions set-up for the first time for the UEFA Nations League fixtures against Iceland and Denmark in August 2020.

He has only featured three times for England’s senior side but he is set for a huge future at the international level and will be hoping to be one of the first names on the teamsheet at this summer’s Euros.

Jack Grealish in action for Ireland at youth level The Aston Villa skipper has since chosen to play for England at senior level

Jack Grealish is set for a big England future having previously played for Ireland at the youth level

4) Kevin Prince Boateng: Germany, Ghana

Boateng. the half-brother of Jerome Boateng was born and raised in Germany and started his professional career with Hertha Berlin – where he grew up.

Boateng played for Germany’s youth sides at Under 19 and Under 21 level from 2004 to 2009 but just a year later, the flashy midfielder decided to represent Ghana after receiving a Ghanaian passport.

After switching allegiances, Boateng admitted that he felt more Ghanaian. He would go onto represent the Black Stars at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. And in the former in South Africa, they would surprise everybody by reaching the quarter-finals.

And reflecting back on his decision to represent Ghana, Boateng has recently reiterated he made the right choice.

Boateng said last year: ‘There came a time when I thought I was not going to make it with Germany, not because of my quality but because my character doesn’t fit.

‘So I decided to play for Ghana and honestly it is one of the best of my career. To go home to see your roots and see a different culture and play two World Cups was amazing.’

Kevin Prince Boateng in action for Ghana against Germany, the country he was born in
Kevin Prince Boateng in action for Ghana against Germany, the country he was born in

5) Lukas Podolski: Poland, Germany

Podolski, formerly of Cologne, Bayern Munich, and Arsenal, was born in Poland in 1985 but his country of birth will certainly rue not tying him down when they had the perfect chance.

After a series of strong performances for his beloved club Cologne as an 18-year-old, Polish media urged then-national team coach Pawel Janas to give him a chance with the senior side.

But Janas wasn’t having any of it: ‘We have much better strikers in Poland than Podolski. I don’t see a reason to call up a player just because he played one or two good matches in the Bundesliga. He is not even a regular starter at his club.’

Poland’s loss was Germany’s gain. After the snub, Germany pounced, and his international career with Die Mannschaft would soon take off.

After featuring for Germany at every youth level, Podolski – who had a wand of a left foot – would end up representing the senior side 130 times overall, scoring 49 goals in that time. Oh, and he won the 2014 World Cup!

Polish-born Lukas Podolski enjoyed a glittering career for Germany, winning the World Cup
Polish-born Lukas Podolski enjoyed a glittering career for Germany, winning the World Cup

6) Thiago Motta: Brazil, Italy

The defensive midfielder, who would enjoy huge success with Barcelona, Inter Milan and PSG, won two caps for his native Brazil in 2003.

But frustratingly he failed to build on that total and eight years later, he was eventually snapped up by Italy after he was approached by Cesare Prandelli.

The season after winning the treble at Inter Milan under Jose Mourinho in 2010 was when the request came with Motta possessing dual nationality with his paternal grandfather being Italian.

In 2011, he received his first call-up from Italy for a friendly against Germany and he would go onto become a key component for the side, helping them reach the Euro 2012 final.

Motta eventually retired from international football in 2016 with 30 Italian caps to his name.

Thiago Motta became central to Italy's plans after previously featuring for Brazil
Thiago Motta became central to Italy’s plans after previously featuring for Brazil

7) Nacer Chadli: Morocco, Belgium

Like many others from Belgium’s squad, Chadli had the privilege of being eligible to represent another country – and in this case, Morocco.

After an eye-catching campaign for FC Twente in his maiden Eredivisie season, Morocco came calling and he was fielded in a 1-1 friendly draw with Northern Ireland in November 2010.

However, Chadli soon after decided to represent his country of birth, and just 84 days after his Morocco debut, the winger won his first cap for Belgium in a friendly against Finland.

He would go onto become an important member of the Belgium squad, most specifically under Roberto Martinez, helping his country finish third at the 2018 World Cup.

Nacer Chadli, previously of Morocco, celebrates scoring at the 2018 World Cup for Belgium
Nacer Chadli, previously of Morocco, celebrates scoring at the 2018 World Cup for Belgium

8) Faouzi Ghoulam: France, Algeria

Current Napoli left-back was born in France and played twice for their Under 21 side in 2012.

However, he made his intentions very clear that he always wanted to represent Algeria, and in 2013, he made his debut for the country in a 3-1 victory over Benin in a World Cup qualifier.

He would soon after featuring for Algeria at the 2014 World Cup, in which they reached the round of 16 before being defeated by eventual champions Germany.

Since switching allegiances, the 30-year-old has featured 37 times for Algeria, scoring five goals.

Faouzi Ghoulam started off with France but always had the intention of playing for Algeria
Faouzi Ghoulam started off with France but always had the intention of playing for Algeria

9) Alex Bruce: Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland

Bruce, son of former Manchester United center-back and now Newcastle manager Steve grabbed the headlines back in 2011.

Bruce, who has plied his trade at 10 clubs below the Premier League, initially played for the Republic of Ireland (twice) – with whom he would make his debut in 2007.

But four years later, he controversially decided to represent Northern Ireland – with his grandmother having been born in Bangor.

However, he was unable to establish a successful career with Northern Ireland, featuring just twice and both were in friendlies.

Alex Bruce in action for Ireland before controversially choosing to play for Northern Ireland
Alex Bruce in action for Ireland before controversially choosing to play for Northern Ireland

10) Alfredo Di Stefano: Argentina, Colombia, Spain

This one is certainly going back in time. The Real Madrid great, born in Buenos Aires, enjoyed a brilliant yet very strange international career having represented three different countries.

Bizarrely during his time at River Plate, Millonarios, and then Real Madrid, he was allowed to play for the native country of each.

Free from the modern-day clutches of FIFA’s regulations, Di Stefano incredibly represented Argentina, Colombia, and Spain.

Unfortunately, however, he never featured at a World Cup due to Argentina’s failure to qualify for the 1950 or 1954 tournaments and Spain’s failure to qualify in 1958.

The former forward scored 23 goals in 31 appearances for Spain, six goals in six matches for Argentina while he also featured four times for Colombia.

Real Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano (left) played for Argentina, Spain and Colombia
Real Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano (left) played for Argentina, Spain, and Colombia

By JONATHAN SPENCER FOR MAILONLINE

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