Let their footballers come

The Belfast Telegraph says that EU national teams are importing football talent through (presumably privileged) immigration openings:

[Marcos] Senna took Spanish nationality, enabling his club to field another non-EU player. Capped in March 2006, he was a starter in the ensuing World Cup…

Coaches and governments have realised that while countries are not allowed to use the transfer market to strengthen teams, they can use helpful immigration laws.

Since Brazil is the greatest producer of football talent in the world it follows that footballers most likely to be naturalised are from Brazil. Those playing at Euro 2008 are just the most visible tip of a ball-juggling mountain. There are Brazilians playing for Bosnia, Bulgaria and Hungary. Azerbaijan have four Brazilians playing for them – the recent spell as coach of Brazil’s 1970 World Cup captain, Carlos Alberto Torres, is undoubtedly a factor. Brazilians have been competing for Tunisia and Lebanon and for Japan and Qatar…

With globalisation the blurring of national allegiances is only going to increase, especially given the value of an EU passport to players from outside the union.

[HT: Emmanuel]