Taking to the pitch to represent your home country is a crowning moment for any player. To represent your nation at the highest level and on a global stage is no easy achievement.
It is a dream for each and every player to represent her or his country at the national level. But sometimes for a better opportunity or lack of emotional connection make players change their nationality.
Footballers with two nationalities, or those who have earned citizenship in a new country, can often find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place – which national team do I play for?
The Business Standard (TBS) takes a look at five famous footballers who have played for two different countries.
Diego Costa (Brazil, Spain)
Known for his off-the-ball antics and fiery temper, just as much as his abilities in front of goal, Diego Costa is first on our list of footballers who have played for two different countries.
His first two caps at the international level were for his native Brazil, where he played two friendlies against Italy and Russia in 2013.
After gaining citizenship at the back end of the same year, Costa requested a move to the play for the Spanish national team and was subsequently called up in 2014. Since then he has gone on to represent Spain at both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, scoring 10 goals in his 24 appearances.
Michel Platini (France, Kuwait)
Michel Platini is one of the best midfielders of all time. He won three consecutive Ballon d'Or for his mind-blowing performances with Juventus and France.
The former UEFA president made 72 appearances for France and scored 41 goals. He announced his international retirement in 1987.
But the next year he came out of his retirement and played his last match. Here's the twist, the French legend represented Kuwait. It was a friendly match against the Soviet Union.
It was a special request from the Kuwait Emir and the French man accepted that offer.
Kevin-Prince Boateng (Germany, Ghana)
Boateng was born in Germany. His mother is German and his father from Ghana.
He represented Germany in both U19 and U21 levels.
His performance was good enough to catch the attention of the Ghanaian coaching staff. The midfielder moved to Ghana and made his debut in the 2010 World Cup.
Boateng faced off his own brother Jerome Boateng, who was playing for the Germans. And so far this is the only time, people have witnessed "brother vs brother" in World Cup history.
Ferenc Puskas (Hungary, Spain)
Many people have forgotten his name, but you surely have heard of FIFA Puskas Award. Yes, this is the same, Ferenc Puskas.
This Hungarian started playing for his native country. He appeared in 85 matches and netted an unbelievable number of goals, 84 it is.
Puskas won the Olympic gold medal in 1952 and led Hungary to the final of the 1954 World Cup.
He played for Real Madrid and took Spanish citizenship. Though he was superb with Los Blancos, couldn't duplicate his performance for La Roja. He played only four matches for the Spain national team.
Alfredo di Stefano (Argentina, Colombia, Spain)
Enough of two national teams, this Argentine-born legend played for three national sides.
First with his native country, then Colombia and at last with Spain.
Di Stefano is considered one of the best players of all time. This Real Madrid legend played only six matches for Argentina and scored six goals.
Argentina was forced not to play in the 1950 World Cup. Then Stefano moved to Colombia and played four matches. As Di Stefano was not a citizen of Colombia, FIFA banned him from playing at the national level.
Real Madrid helped him to make free from any kind of banishing problem. Then he played for Spain. Di Stefano made 31 appearances for La Roja and scored 23 goals.