Top 5 greatest players who didn’t play for their country of birth – what Mozambique, Ghana, Poland, Suriname, and Trinidad missed out on.

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Some countries are blessed with talents – and players see it as a privilege playing for their countries. However, some players did not play for their country of origin for one reason or another. We bring you five of the world’s greatest players who did not play for their country of birth. Here is what Mozambique, Ghana, Poland, Suriname, and Trinidad missed out on.

1. Eusebio



EusebioEusebio da Silva Ferreira was born on 25 January 1942 in the Mafala neighborhood, Lourenco Marques (now Maputo). Born to a white Angolan Father a black Mozambican mother, Eusébio is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. During his professional career, he scored 749 goals in 745 matches at club level and 41 goals for his national team, a total of 790 goals.

Nicknamed the Black Panther, the Black Pearl or o Rei (the King), he was known for his speed, technique, athleticism and his ferocious right-footed shot, making him a prolific goalscorer. He is considered S.L. Benfica ‘s and the Portugal national team’s most renowned player, as well as one of the first world-class African-born strikers.

He helped Portugal reach third place at the 1966 World Cup, being the top goalscorer of the tournament with nine goals (including four in one match against North Korea)  and received the Bronze Ball award. He won the Ballon d’Or award for European footballer of the year in 1965 and was runner-up in 1962 and 1966. Eusebio died on 5 January 2014

2. Marcel Desailly


Born as Odenke Abbey on 7 September 1968 to Ghanaian parents, Marcel had his name changed when his mother married the head of the French Consulate in Accra, who adopted all her children (the former professional footballer Seth Adonkor, seven years his elder, was a half-brother of his). He arrived in France as a four-year-old, and, following Adonkor’s lead, began his career at FC Nantes. There, as part of the famed FC Nantes youth programme, he played alongside a young Didier Deschamps, who was a very good central back, who became his closest friend. Desailly turned professional in 1986, two years after his half-brother had died in a car accident. In 1992, he moved to Olympique de Marseille, where he reunited with Deschamps, and won the UEFA Champions League the following year. In 1994, while playing for AC Milan , he again won the Cup (scoring in the final himself), being the first player to win the Cup in consecutive seasons with different clubs. During his time in Milan he won two Italian league titles, in 1994 and 1996. Although he prefers to be a sweeper and central defender, he played as a defensive midfield for Milan.

Desailly then moved to the English club Chelsea in 1998 for £4.6m, where he captained the side and played sweeper and centre-back until the end of the 2003–04 season . It was at Chelsea that Desailly formed a formidable partnership with Frank Leboeuf.

He picked up one major trophy in his six seasons with Chelsea , being on the winning side in their FA Cup triumph over Aston Villa in 2000.

Desailly was snapped up by Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa in 2004. He was appointed as the club captain and under the French coach Bruno Metsu they won the Qatar League in 2005. He then joined Qatar S.C. , leading them to second place in the league before retiring from professional football.

3. Miroslav Klose


Klose was born in the Silesian city of Opole , Poland. Both of his parents were professional athletes. His father, Josef Klose , was a professional footballer who played for Odra Opole, before leaving communist Poland in 1978 to play for French team AJ Auxerre . His mother, Barbara Jeż, was a member of the Poland women’s national handball team. As an ethnic German and German national, Josef Klose was an Aussiedler whose family had remained behind when Silesia was awarded to Poland after World War II and decided to bring his family to Germany. In 1986, then eight-year-old Miroslav joined his father in Kusel, Rhineland-Palatinate, knowing only two words of German. Klose developed his skill and passion in football from the village club, SG Blaubach-Diedelkopf, which at the time was in the German seventh division. He was also trained as an apprentice to become a carpenter.

Klose and his wife Sylwia have twin sons, Luan and Noah. In a 2007 interview with Der Spiegel, he stated that he and his wife speak Polish to their children at home, while the children learn German in school. Klose has not held Polish citizenship since the age of eighteen, as he then opted for a German passport. Klose is a Roman Catholic.  Klose is best known for his performances with the German national team. He was part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup winning German squad, having previously finished second ( 2002 ) and third ( 2006 , 2010 ) in the competition and as runner-up in Euro 2008 . He is the top goalscorer in the history of the FIFA World Cup , having scored five goals in his debut World Cup in 2002 and winning the Golden Boot at the 2006 World Cup in Germany by again scoring five times.

He also scored four times in the 2010 World Cup and twice at the 2014 World Cup, which put him ahead of Ronaldo in the all-time list with 16 goals. Klose is also the top scorer of all time for Germany, who never lost a game in which Klose scored. He retired from Germany’s national team on 11 August 2014.
At club level, Klose has been a less prolific but usually reliable goalscorer. Starting his career at FC 08 Homburg , he played in the Bundesliga for Kaiserslautern , Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich, and in Serie A for Lazio. He won two league titles with Bayern, and cup competitions at Bayern, Werder Bremen and Lazio.

4. Clarence Seedorf


Born in Paramaribo , Suriname, Seedorf was raised in Almere, Flevoland where he moved to when he was two years old. Growing up in a footballing family, with both his younger brothers Jürgen and Chedric Seedorf, and his father (former player and talent agent Johann Seedorf), Clarence began his career at the age of 6 in the youth ranks of his local amateur sides VV AS ’80 and Real Almere, before being discovered and recruited to the ranks of nearby Dutch Giants AFC Ajax , by “Urgent Scoutingteam”. The talent agency that was set up by Johan Cruyff himself was responsible for recruiting the likes of Frank and Ronald de Boer, Edgar Davids, Robert Witschge and Patrick Kluivert to the club as well. Following in his brothers’ footsteps, under the guidance of their father and talent agent, his siblings and cousin, Stefano Seedorf would later equally join the ranks of Ajax.

Seedorf is one of the most decorated Dutch players ever. He is considered one of the most successful players in Champions League history, as he is the first, and currently, the only player to have won the Champions League with three different clubs – once with Ajax , in 1995 , once with Real Madrid, in1998 , and twice with Milan, in 2003 and 2007 . In 2004, he was chosen by Pelé as part of the FIFA 100.

5. John Barnes


Born and initially raised in Jamaica, the son of a military officer from Trinidad, Barnes moved to London with his family when he was 12 years old. He joined Watford at the age of 17 in 1981 and over the next six years made 296 appearances for the club, scoring 85 goals. He made his debut for England in 1983 and four years later joined Liverpool for £900,000. Between 1987 and 1997 Barnes won the then top-flight First Division twice and the FA Cup twice with Liverpool, scoring 106 goals in 403 matches. By the time of his last appearance for England in 1995 he had been capped 79 times—then a record for a black player. After two years with Newcastle United, he ended his playing career at Charlton Athletic in 1999.
Barnes moved to Scotland to become head coach of Celtic in 1999 with his former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish as director of football . This was not successful and Barnes was sacked in 2000. Since then Barnes has managed the Jamaica national team in 2008–09 and the English club Tranmere Rovers for four months in 2009.

During his playing career Barnes was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year twice (in 1987–88 and 1989–90) and the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year once (in 1987–88). In the run-up to England’s 1990 FIFA World Cup campaign he recorded a rap for the official team song, New Order ‘s ” World in Motion “. In 2005 he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.

We will continue with another list. Keep in touch.

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About EmrysWalker

I am a college student, football writer, aspiring sports journalist, a student teacher from Ghana. I support Accra Hearts of Oak SC (in Ghana) and Chelsea FC in Europe. You can contact me on Thank You

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