Team Frugal: Alex Iwobi And The Case Of The Dual International

Being frugal is about more than being stingy with your money. It means being prudent, smart and economical with your finances and career decisions. Every Tuesday, we share profiles of athletes that exemplify what it means to be A Frugal Athlete.

*During the World Cup we decided to give you more frequent stories of soccer players that are frugal athletes


Alex Iwobi is a dual international having the ability to play for England or Nigeria. He ultimately decided to play for Nigeria. Everything in sports is a business decision even choosing the country you will represent on the world stage

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Iwobi decided that playing for Nigeria will pay larger dividends than him playing for England. Dele Alli on the other hand decided to play for England although he had the ability to play for Nigeria as well. The list goes on and on. Pepe is of Brazilian descent but decided to play for Portugal. Douglas Costa is also from Brazil and decided to play for Spain. World Cup winners, France, had over 12 players eligible to play for other countries but ultimately decided to represent France. We could be here all day listing players eligible for multiple countries.

What I want to discuss is why a player may choose playing for one country over another from a financial and career perspective outside of all emotional ties for playing for a country

Here is a list of possible reasons:


As a player, playing for a bigger market can help you with outside opportunities. Whether it’s Mexican-American Jonathan Gonzalez deciding to play for Mexico and having a plethora of brands and companies engage with him because of his newfound reach and exposure.

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A player may not be talented enough or on the radar for a national team and could play a key role for another team. Fabian Johnson of the United States a former youth German international switched allegiances to give himself a chance to make the World Cup which he ultimately did in 2014. Instead of waiting for a call up or being a spot starter, players end up switching allegiances and become key figures for their national team. If you think about the match bonuses it makes sense to play for a team that will call you up more if that  is the case.

Strength of Squad


Playing for a squad that has a better chance competing in major tournaments will be more beneficial in terms of monetary compensation for a player. For example, a player like Paul Pogba would have missed out on 38M team prize winnings for France had he played for Guinea’s national team like his older twin brothers. In fact, Guinea didn’t participate in the World Cup.


The reason we wanted to highlight this circumstance with soccer players is because it's important to understand the various factors why a player makes a decision for their career. As a frugal athlete, you are always thinking bigger picture and for many of these players that is what they are thinking.