Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Adama Traore was named in the Spain squad by coach Luis Enrique on Friday, three days after also being called up by Mali.
Traore, who was born in Barcelona to Malian parents, has been targeted by the two federations over the past 18 months. The 24-year-old can still represent either nation as he has not yet played senior international football. He has twice before been called up to the Spain squad he was forced to withdraw last year with an injury and again in September following a positive Covid-19 test. “Touch wood he can play this time as it’s his third call-up,” Enrique said when asked about Traore. “I really want to see him in a Spain shirt. Regarding the call-up he’s received from Mali, it’s up to him. “As far as I’m aware, he wants to play for us, but it’s his decision and we’ll always respect players’ decisions on these things.” Traore has made no public statement on the double call-up, although football analysts expect him to go with Spain. Mali are also waiting to see if Everton’s former France youth international Abdoulaye Doucoure will honour his inclusion on their squad for the international break. If Traore plays in either of Spain’s European Nations League qualifiers against Switzerland on 10 October or Ukraine three days later he would no longer be able to switch allegiances to Mali. But if either players chooses to accept the Mali call up they could still swap as the African nation are only due to play a friendly match. FIFA regulations are that players over the age of 21 who play a competitive game at senior international level cannot play for another country. However at last month’s FIFA annual congress the rule was amended, following a proposal by the Moroccan Football Federation. Players can now switch if they have played no more than three matches at senior level, with all the appearances coming before the player turns 21. Appearances in World Cup finals matches or continental finals such as the Africa Cup of Nations would prohibit a change of eligibility, but appearing in a tournament qualifier would not.