Zinedine Zidane, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain, Mesut Ozil, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Benoit Assou-Ekotto. What do these World Cup players have in common? All these players are representing to play for a country that they are not originally from.
French legend Zinedine Zidane and the current French striker Karim Benzema were born to Algerian parents but played for the French national team, Argentinian striker Gonazalo Higuain was originally born in France but plays for Argentinian national team, German midfielder Mesut Ozil is a Turkish- German decent playing for German national team, Kevin-Prince Boateng, half-brother of German defender Jerome Boateng was born from a Ghanaian father and a German mother, but chose to play for the Ghanaian national team, and finally Benoit Assou-Ekotto is a French-Cameroon decent who chose to play for the Cameroonian national team.
The reasons behind the decision to play for a specific national team was different for each player. Player such as Zidane, Benzema and Higuain chose to play for France and Argentina simply because, although they are of a different descent, they felt that the country that they grew up was more important–but there were some difficulties depending on how they played during their matches. “Basically, if I score, I’m French. And if I don’t score or there are problems, I’m Arab” Said Benzema. On the other hand players like Kevin- Prince Boateng, Boateng chose to play for the Ghanaian national team after he was snubbed by the German national team.
Choosing which team to play for was a hard decision to make but the process that was not all that easy as it is nowadays in the past. “In the past players could either play or not play for their country, or wait to go through an often-lengthy citizenship process in an adopted country. But since 2010, players have been able to switch their allegiances.” Said David Conrad the author of the article “At the World Cup, there are more French-born players playing against France than for it.”
The World Cup is an International competition among nations, and viewers can enjoy the watching the games by cheering for the team that they are from, but there is a much more deeper story about the individual players, that can enhance your knowledge of the game and also make the games more interesting to watch.