We can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for Munir El Haddadi.
The Sevilla striker – who started his career as an exciting prospect at Barcelona – was on Morocco’s radar heading into the World Cup two years ago.
At the time, he’d been enjoying a decent campaign while on-loan at Deportivo Alves, where he netted 10 goals in La Liga to help the Basque side finish a respectable 14th place in the table.
And according to reports, the Moroccan Football Federation were keen to call-up the Madrid-born forward to their squad ahead of their first World Cup since 1998 – where they faced Spain, Portugal and Iran in Group B.
But sadly for Munir, FIFA have dismissed their request as he’s already played for Spain.
Munir is the son of a Moroccan father but was born and raised in Spain, which meant he was eligible to represent either nation internationally.
And in September 2014, he opted for Spain and made a 13-minute cameo appearance under Vicente del Bosque in a Euro 2016 qualifying match against Macedonia, coming off the bench in place of Koke.
At the time, it seemed like a great idea for Spain to tie-down the youngster, and give Munir the run-out he’d always dreamed of.
But since winning his first cap for Spain, the 24-year-old’s progress has slowed significantly as he struggled to break into Barca’s first-team, spending two seasons out on loan, before moving to Sevilla last year.
He was even left out of Spain’s Under-21 squad for the European Under-21 Championship two years ago, despite previously winning 16-caps.
Suarez, Messi, Munir?According to FIFA, the rules say: “Any player who has already participated in a match (either in full or in part) in an official competition of any category or any type of football for one association may not play an international match for a representative team of another association.”
So Diego Costa, for example, was able to switch from Brazil to Spain back in 2014 because he had only played for Brazil in friendly matches and not an official competition.
There we go then, just like the rest of us, Munir ended up the World Cup at home on the television, instead.