The Rundown

10 sport stars who defied nationality rows

The Rundown

Following the furore in the wake of Jack Wilshere's comments regarding the England football team, we take a look at some great sportspeople who turned out for countries other than their place of birth

1) Alfredo Di Stefano

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Di Stefano, nicknamed 'Saeta rubia' (the Blond Arrow), played international football mostly for Spain, but he also played for Argentina, the country of his birth, and Colombia.

2) Ferenc Puskas

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A member of the great Hungary team of the 1950s, he scored 84 goals in 85 games for the national team. He turned out for Honved but refused to return to Hungary after the Hungarian Revolution erupted in Budapest while he was away on European duty for his club. He signed with Real Madrid and subsequently played four times for Spain - with three of these games during their unsuccessful 1962 World Cup campaign.

3) Tony Cascarino

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Cascarino was born in England but represented the Republic of Ireland, qualifying through his 'Irish grandfather'. However, it turned out that his mother was adopted and he had 88 caps for a country he didn’t qualify for.

4) Deco

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Born in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, Deco turned out for Portugal having received Portuguese citizenship in 2002 following five years of residence.

5) Lennox Lewis

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Lennox Lewis represented Canada as an amateur. He was beaten at the quarter-final stage in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles but beat Riddick Bowe at the 1988 Games in Seoul to take gold. Upon turning professional, he moved back to England, his place of birth to sign with Frank Maloney.

He was the last undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and is considering a comeback at the age of 48.

6) Lester "Bo" McCalebb

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McCalebb is an American-born Macedonian professional basketball player. Despite being born in America, he accepted to play for the Macedonian national basketball team after which he received a Macedonian passport with the name Borche McCalebbovski.

7) Merlene Ottey

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A controversial figure who had a ban for taking steroids rescinded, Ottey moved to Slovenia in 1998 to train with Srdan Dordevic and in 2002 became a Slovenian citizen. She reached the semi-finals in the 100 metres at the 2004 Athens Olympics at the age of 44.

8) Martina Navratilova

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Navratilova dramatically defected to the West at the 1975 US Open. Halfway through the tournament and helped by the FBI the 18-year-old was given permission to defect to the USA. When she won Wimbledon in 1978, the Czech media blanked out all coverage.

9) Kevin Pietersen

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Pietersen was born in Pietermaritzburg, Natal Province, South Africa. He made his first-class debut for Natal in 1997 before moving to England after voicing his displeasure at the racial quota system - whereby a certain number of non-white players must feature - in place in South Africa. He believed the quota cost him his place in the Natal side.

10) Saif Saaeed Shaheen

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Saif Shaheen was a world junior steeplechase champion with Kenya but switched allegiance to Qatar in 2003 – for which it is reported he was paid $1 million (£625,000). He has since become a double 3000 m steeplechase world champion for his adopted country.

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