Home Football 10 African-origin players who represent European countries

10 African-origin players who represent European countries


5. Romelu Lukaku

© Bildbyrån
  • Snubbed: DR Congo
  • Represents: Belgium

Although Lukaku is a Belgian citizen by birth, he is more often seen as a Congolese, mainly because his father is an immigrant from Congo, a former Belgian colony. Lukaku’s father, who himself was also a professional soccer player and was capped for Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, left his country for the neighboring Côte d’Ivoire and then Belgium in 1990, when the Central African state was in political turmoil.

It was against this backdrop that Lukaku’s father decided to flee the country and seek refuge in Belgium, where he made his living and raised his children by playing in lower league teams. Lukaku’s father chose to settle in Belgium because Congo used to be a Belgian colony, and during the colonial era, many Congolese migrated to the country to seek a better life. As a result, both his sons, Jordan and Romelu have decided to feature for Belgium.

6. Mario Balotelli

© Bildbyrån
  • Snubbed: Ghana
  • Represents: Italy

Balotelli was born to two Ghanaian immigrants in Italy and was adopted by Italian parents. He had the chance to play for either the Black Stars of Ghana or the Azurri of Italy, but he chose the European nation over the Africans, even though they did not show him any loyalty by giving him their passport only when he turned 18.

He started his Italy career when he made a two-goal blast against Germany in the semi-final of Euro 2012, establishing himself as one of the key players the Europeans could rely on in future. Balotelli is the dark-skinned player to represent Italy at a major international tournament.


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