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Top 8 Players Who Switched National Teams Before the Euros

Jamal Musiala at Bayern
© Ace Football

In the modern age, many footballers have multiple nationalities, leading to crucial decisions about which country to represent at the senior international level.

Some players even make this switch right before major tournaments like the Euros. Here are eight notable players who switched national teams just before the Euros.

8. Declan Rice

Starting our list is Declan Rice. Born in England with Irish descent, Rice initially played for the Republic of Ireland’s youth teams and even made a couple of appearances for their senior team. In 2019, he switched to England, making his debut in a Euro 2020 qualifying game. While not a switch right before the Euros, it was just in time for his first international tournament.

7. Hakim Ziyech

Hakim Ziyech, born in the Netherlands to Moroccan parents, represented the Netherlands at various youth levels. Despite being a promising talent for the Dutch, he switched to Morocco a few months before Euro 2016. This move paid off as he became a key player for Morocco, helping them reach the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup.

6. Kalidou Koulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly, born in France to Senegalese parents, played for the French youth team and was a top prospect. However, he decided to switch to Senegal months before Euro 2016, aiming to make a significant impact on Senegalese football. Koulibaly later led Senegal to their first AFCON victory in 2022.

5. Callum Hudson-Odoi

Callum Hudson-Odoi, born in England to Ghanaian parents, represented England at youth levels and even debuted for the senior team in 2019. However, reports in 2024, just before the Euros, indicated he switched to Ghana, taking advantage of FIFA rules that allow a switch if fewer than three competitive games have been played.

4. Brahim Díaz

Real Madrid’s Brahim Díaz switched from Spain to Morocco just before Euro 2024. Born in Spain to a Spanish mother and a Moroccan father, Díaz played for Spain’s youth teams and even a senior friendly. Despite his rising profile at Real Madrid, he chose to represent Morocco, surprising many fans who thought he’d join Spain for the Euros.

3. Demarai Gray

Demarai Gray, another player who switched away from England, made his move just before Euro 2020. Born in England, Gray played for the youth teams but switched to Jamaica in March 2021. He completed the switch and debuted for Jamaica in 2023.

2. Michail Antonio

Michail Antonio, born in England to Jamaican parents, was a late bloomer who didn’t feature in England’s youth ranks. After being called up twice but never playing, Antonio switched to Jamaica before Euro 2020. Despite initial delays, he debuted for Jamaica in a World Cup qualifier in September 2021.

1. Jamal Musiala

Topping our list is Jamal Musiala. Born in Germany to a British-Nigerian father and a German mother with Polish roots, Musiala had options to represent Germany, England, Nigeria, or Poland. He played for both Germany and England at youth levels but chose Germany four months before Euro 2020, becoming their youngest player at a major tournament.

These players highlight the complexities and strategic decisions involved in international football. Switching national teams can change the trajectory of a player’s career and the fortunes of national teams. Do you know more players who switched countries just before the Euros? Share in the comments!