Brazil-born Rafinha ready for Germany call-up

Rio de Janeiro, Oct 22 (IANS) Bayern Munich’s Brazil-born full-back Rafinha has confirmed his desire to play for the German national football team should he secure nationality for his adopted country.

The 30-year-old last month turned down the chance to play for Brazil after being called up by national coach Dunga for World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Venezuela. Despite initially denying that he harboured hopes of switching nationalities, Rafinha put himself at the disposal of Germany coach Joachim Low on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

“I have to get a passport first, but if Joachim Low contacts me after that, then of course I would be ready to play for Germany,” Rafinha said.

Brazilian media reported that Rafinha will sit a German nationality test in the coming days, meaning he could be eligible to play for Germany within weeks. Having begun his professional career at Brazil’s Coritiba, Rafinha was traded to Schalke in 2005. He spent five years with the Bundesliga club before signing with Italy’s Genoa in 2010 and then joining Bayern Munich a year later.

FIFA rules preclude players from switching national teams if they have already represented another country in a competitive international match.

Rafinha has only represented Brazil’s senior team in friendlies but it is unclear how football’s governing body will interpret his appearances for the national Under-23 team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Low chose not to speculate about Rafinha’s future, but did not rule out selecting him.

“He can’t be considered if he doesn’t get his German passport. If that happens, we’ll see,” Low said.

If his application for German nationality is granted, and he is selected by Low, Rafinha would join a long list of Brazil-born players to change their allegiance. Recent examples include Douglas Costa (Spain), Pepe (Portugal), Deco (Portugal) and Marcos Senna (Spain).

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