One of the greatest things about football is its ability to link any man, woman or child from around the globe together in the greatest sport on the planet. 

It doesn’t matter which continent you are from, country, city or otherwise, as long as you’re enthusiastic and in the case of a professional footballer, talented.

Sometimes, however, a person’s birthplace is simply assumed and their identity hidden beneath the busy nature that is everyday life or the national team they represent.

Kevin De Bruyne, for example, was born in Drongen, Belgium – not surprising – to mother Anna, born in Burundi with her parents based in England – very surprising. De Bruyne even spent some of his childhood growing up in Ealing, West London and turned down the chance to represent the country of his mother’s birth in favour of the Red Devils.

So, whilst the Man City playmaker’s story is one of the most intriguing, he doesn’t quite fit the criteria.

Luckily for you, we have found 10 players who were actually born in places that you would never have guessed straight away.

1. Clarence Seedorf (Suriname)

Seedorf is highly regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, turning out many a genius performance for the likes of Ajax, Real Madrid, Inter and AC Milan.

His abilities were also seen in the bright orange strip of the Netherlands, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that would be his birthplace. He was in fact, born in Paramaribo, Suriname, on the north-eastern Atlantic coast of South America. His family made the move from the newly independent overseas territory to the Dutch mainland when Seedorf was two years of age.

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Seedorf was raised in Almere, Flevoland, a province of the Netherlands and was thus introduced to the Dutch way of football.

His fellow dread-locked midfielder, Edgard Davids, was also born in Paramaribo.

2. Rio Mavuba (born at sea)

Mavuba made an impressive 370 appearances for Ligue 1 side LOSC Lille where he was part of the impressive side that won the 2010-11 league title; a side that included Adil Rami, Gervinho, Moussa Sow and a certain Eden Hazard.

Making 13 caps for France, Mavuba probably holds the title here for most fascinating birthplace: the sea!

Born on board a boat in international waters, Mavuba’s parents were fleeing from the Angolan Civil War. As a result, his birth certificate held no nationality, simply reading “born at sea”.

He received French nationality in September 2004 despite efforts by then DR Congo manager Claude LeRoy to acquire his services; “I grew up in France, and I am French,” was Mavuba’s response.

3. Shaun Maloney (Malaysia)

The former Celtic man (twice) also played for the likes of Aston Villa, Wigan, Chicago Fire and Hull City, while also bagging himself 47 caps for Scotland in an 11-year period.

Maloney wasn’t a product of Edinburgh, Glasgow or any other Scottish label, but instead was born in the east, Malaysia to be exact. He lived there during his early years before his family uprooted and switched their address to a more Scottish persuasion.

Perhaps even more bizarrely, Maloney is now part of Roberto Martinez’s Belgium coaching set-up, leaving his role with Celtic to join become the Red Devils’ second assistant manager on a full-time basis.

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4. Simone Perrotta (Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester)

Mr Workrate, his box-to-box style of play saw him enjoy a good career with his best time coming in a nine-year tenure at AS Roma, making 325 appearances in all competitions.

48 caps for Italy – and a World Cup winners’ medal – means we will forgive you for thinking he was born in Europe’s best place for pizza. Perrotta was actually born in England, more specifically, Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester.

Now semi-famous for being the ‘last Englishman to win the World Cup’, he is now one-third of a statue outside the stadium of local side Curzon Ashton F.C. which celebrates the three World Cup winners from Tamseide: Sir Geoff Hurst, Jimmy Armfield and Simone Perrotta.

You take what you can get.

5. Terry Butcher (Singapore)

There are certain players who have donned the famous shirt of the Three Lions and completely epitomise what it means to be quintessentially English.

So, of course, he was born elsewhere! Butcher was born in Singapore before living in Suffolk, where his father was commissioned with the Royal Navy in the far east.

77 caps for England later, we think he passed the English exam.

6. Jonathan de Guzman (Canada)

Perhaps you know De Guzman from his Premier League days when he spent two years on-loan at Swansea City. Or maybe it is his 14 caps for the Netherlands?

How about spells at Feyenoord, Mallorca, Villarreal or Napoli? We doubt it is because you knew he was born in Scarborough, Ontario and is of Jamaican and Filipino descent.

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A father from the Philippines, a mother from Jamaica, born in Canada, played for Holland. De Guzman’s passport is impressively stamped.

7. Robert Earnshaw (Zambia)

Known for firing in the goals at Cardiff City and for his iconic goal celebration, the Welsh international was Cardiff through and through. He also managed 59 caps for Wales, scoring 16 goals.

However, Earnshaw was actually born in Zambia, near a small mining town of Mufulira. Fun fact; his mother Rita was a professional footballer in Zambia and later became a boxer.

Another fun fact; his English-born father was the manager of a gold mine. Current Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock wouldn’t mind some of that.

8. Kieran Tierney (Isle of Man)

The talented 21-year-old has established himself as Celtic’s main man at left-back. He already has six titles to his name (including three league titles) and is rapidly building upon his 11 caps for Scotland.

Tierney didn’t spend the first 10 months of his life in Scotland but rather in Douglas, the capital and largest twon of the Isle of Man.

However, he has always supported Celtic and is now living out his dream of playing for the club he loves, doing so 148 times to date. Good for him.

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