By 90Min
July 04, 2018

With the World Cup in full swing, footballing patriotism and rivalry are at fever-pitch level. However, it's at times like these we must sometimes wonder how much we actually belong to the countries we hail from or represent.

As part of a campaign by MyHeritage DNA, eight footballing legends took a DNA test, to explore this very notion and find out just how much of their chosen nation was present in their blood.

The results were interesting to say the least...


Lothar Matthäus - Germany

Lutz Bongarts/GettyImages

In his 20 years and 150 caps as a German international, in which time he played in five World Cups, Matthäus epitomised everything that the DFB represented.

So it was more than a little surprising for Germany's most capped player to learn he could've played for England! 24.7% of Matthäus' DNA is from North & West Europe (ie Germanic) but 24.3% was specifically English.

Learning the news, the 57-year-old proclaimed: "I played for the wrong nation!"

Yes, yes you did Lothar.


John Barnes - England

Dan Smith/GettyImages

Barnes went into the test affirming his allegiance to England, and asserting that he would definitely at least be more English than Scottish. Much to presenter Kelly Cates' pleasure, this was not the case, as he possessed 16.5% Irish, Scottish & Welsh heritage, and 0% from England.

He subsequently admitted: "If Scotland asked me before England, I definitely would've played for Scotland."

Other prominent nations were Nigeria and Sierra Leone, with 41.2% and 13.5% respectively.


Clarence Seedorf - Netherlands

Christof Koepsel/GettyImages

With Holland not present at the World Cup in Russia, Seedorf was in need of a nation to support. Luckily for him, he got just that, with a 6.3% presence of Swedish DNA.

Incredibly, the Milan legend admitted the first time he visited Stockholm it felt "amazing" and he always felt a connection to the country. He has subsequently set up a project there, purely based on the feeling he felt from the people and the place.

The midfielder, who was born in Suriname, was also comprised of 46.2% Nigerian DNA and 36.2% Sierra Leonean.


Luis Garcia - Spain

Clive Mason/GettyImages

The Spaniard had an unsurprisingly strong amount of Iberian blood in him (84.7%).

Less expected, however, was his 11.3% of Sephardic Jewish heritage from North Africa, alongside 4% from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. In a touching moment, they also found a picture of Garcia's Great Uncle playing guitar in his village, and there was quite a resemblance between the pair.


Have you ever wanted to trace your ethnicity? Find out more at https://footballdna.myheritage.com/


Hernan Crespo - Argentina

ANTONIO SCORZA/GettyImages

Before the reveal, the former Chelsea and Inter striker was certain that he would be South American, but admitted he had always felt an intangible draw to Italy.

As it turned out, he had zero South American DNA, but a whopping 27.6% Italian in him. He then admitted: "Now I know why it feels like home."

The forward also contained 48.7% Iberian DNA and 17.6% North & West European.


Gilberto Silva - Brazil

Round of 16 Brazil v Ghana - World Cup 2006

Incredibly, the two resident South American legends present shared just 1.2% of DNA from that region, and that was all Gilberto's.

His Argentinian colleague summed it up perfectly when he proclaimed: "We fight all our lives during our career to defend Brazil and Argentina. I'm not South American, and he is only 1 point South American. Why do we fight?"


Gianluca Zambrotta - Italy

Final Italy v France - World Cup 2006

The World Cup winner was adamant that he would be "100% Italian" before the release of the results. This, of course, turned out to be inaccurate.

He was 62.6% Italian, but had a sizeable 20.3 % chunk of Greek in him, with 14.9% North & West European making up the rest.


Robert Pires - France

FRANCK FIFE/GettyImages

Pires was always known as 'the Portuguese' in his playing days with Les Bleus, and so his 48.5% Iberian is unsurprising. However, the biggest takeaway was the Frenchman's significant Italian influence, 38.1 % to be precise.

It's fair to say it took him a while to accept this fact, as he urged: "No way, no way! C'est pas possible!"

His other origins included a 4.7% North African heritage.


Fancy testing your own DNA to discover your ethnic roots? 

Check out MyHeritage DNA at www.myheritagedna.com


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