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The term oriundo (pronounced [oˈrjundo]; Italian plural oriundi) is an Italian and Spanish noun describing an immigrant of native ancestry. It comes from the Latin verb oriri (orior), "be born", and is related to Orient.[1]


Some oriundi have played for the Italian or Spanish national football teams in international competition; among these are some who had previously represented their native country. FIFA requires international footballers to have either citizenship of a country or close ancestral ties to it. Oriundi may qualify under the latter heading; in addition, they can acquire citizenship more easily than immigrants not of native extraction, owing to jus sanguinis. When the Italian and Spanish leagues imposed quotas or bans on "foreign" players, oriundi were partially or totally exempt from these.

Tours by European club sides of Latin America were common from the 1920s to the 1950s; tours in the reverse direction also occurred. European managers often recruited Latin Americans they had seen playing on these tours. The recruitment of dual internationals was greatly reduced by FIFA which ruled in 1964 that a player could not represent more than one country.[2] In the 1960s, with incidents like the Battle of Santiago in the 1962 FIFA World Cup and several finals of the Intercontinental Cup, South American football came to be seen as more violent and defensive, and hence fewer players were recruited.[2]

Italian oriundi[edit]

Mauro Camoranesi was born in Argentina and played for Italy due to his ancestry. In 2006, he won the World Cup held in Germany with the Italy national team.

The Italian Americans who "returned" to Italy in the 1920s and '30s were known as rimpatriati ("repatriated people"). In Fascist Italy, they automatically had dual citizenship and had no need to undergo naturalization.[3] Vittorio Pozzo, manager of the Italy national team, selected several for the victorious 1934 World Cup side. He rebutted critics of this policy by saying "if they can die for Italy, they can play for Italy",[4] a reference to conscription. Enrique Guaita, Scopelli and Stagnaro tried to leave for France to avoid being called up for the Abyssinian campaign in 1936.[5]

Oriundi as a term in Italian football dates from the early 1950s. The category existed separately from native and foreign players at intervals until the 1970s.[6] Omar Sivori, Humberto Maschio and Antonio Valentín Angelillo, the three stars of the Argentina national team that won the 1957 Copa América were signed by Italian clubs and given citizenship, thereby missing Argentina's disappointing showing at the 1958 World Cup.[7]

In 1966, no new foreigners were admitted to the Italian league. Their presence was blamed for the continued underperfomance of the national side, culminating at the humiliating defeat by North Korea at that year's World Cup.[8] The ban was eased when one foreigner per Serie A team was allowed from 1980.[9]

In recent years, the most famous Italian oriundo has been the former Juventus' Italian Argentine footballer Mauro Camoranesi, who was eligible for Italian citizenship through a great-grandfather who in 1873 emigrated from Potenza Picena, in Italy's Marche region, to Argentina.[10] Mauro won the 2006 FIFA World Cup with the azzurri.

List of Italian football oriundi[edit]

Italian rugby oriundi[edit]

The number of Argentines playing rugby in Italy has increased since the sport embraced professionalism in 1995, while the Argentine league system remains amateur. (Professionals, however, including those based in Europe, are eligible to play for the Argentina national team, and the country's national federation has created a domestic professional player pool for the national team; see also Pampas XV and Jaguares (Super Rugby).) Italian rugby also allows naturalized foreigners. Restrictions on changing nationality are less strict in rugby than in soccer, and three years' residency qualifies. Oriundi capped by the Italy national team include:

Name Original country/countries
Matías Agüero  Argentina
David Bortolussi  France
Gonzalo Canale  Argentina
Pablo Canavosio  Argentina
Martín Castrogiovanni  Argentina
Oscar Collodo   Switzerland
Carlo Del Fava  South Africa
Santiago Dellapè  Argentina
Diego Domínguez  Argentina
Mark Giacheri  Australia
Ramiro Martínez  Argentina
Luke McLean  Australia
Alejandro Moreno  Argentina
Carlos Nieto  Argentina
Luciano Orquera  Argentina
Sergio Parisse  Argentina
Aaron Persico  New Zealand
Ramiro Pez  Argentina
Matt Pini  Australia
Federico Pucciariello  Argentina
Josh Sole[11]  New Zealand
Marko Stanojevic[12]  England /  Serbia
Laurent Travini  France
Nick Zisti  Australia
Dario Chistolini  South Africa

Spanish oriundos[edit]

Few South Americans played football in Spain before World War II.[13] Spain under General Franco allowed for dual nationality with Latin American countries from 1954.[6] Players such as Alfredo Di Stéfano, José Santamaría and Héctor Rial quickly transferred, and helped make Real Madrid the dominant club of the early years of the European Cup. In 1962, the Spanish League banned all foreign players, as their presence was blamed for the poor performance of the national team.[8] Oriundi were allowed if they had not been capped by their native country. As a result, clubs were anxious to prove Spanish ancestry for would-be imports, resulting in some dubious cases. Some players obtained forged birth certificates, providing spurious Spanish ancestors. This was easy in Paraguay during the corrupt dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner.[14] Consequent scandals emerged at various times, including one exposed by Barcelona in 1972. In 1973, to reduce the incentive for corruption, up to two non-oriundi foreigners were allowed per team. Nevertheless, the recruiting of Latin American players continued so strong the Argentine FA in preparation for hosting the 1978 World Cup forbade its preliminary squad of 40 from moving abroad, lest they be "poached".[15] Spain reduced the number of oriundi to one per team after another forgery scandal in 1979[9] From 1979 to 1982, no Argentines were allowed abroad, and many like Mario Kempes returned home.[9]

Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stéfano is a notable example; he was born in Argentina and played for the Argentina national team, but later obtained Spanish citizenship and represented Spain at the 1962 World Cup.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  • Taylor, Matthew; Pierre Lanfranchi (2001-06-01). Moving With the Ball: the migration of professional footballers. Oxford: Berg. ISBN 978-1-85973-307-3. 
  1. ^ Pianigiani, Ottorino. Dizionario etimologico
  2. ^ a b Taylor, pg 97.
  3. ^ Taylor, pg 76.
  4. ^ Brian Glanville (2004-07-05). "Luck or judgment? Managerial choices at Euro 2004 raise eyebrows". Sports Illustrated/CNN. Retrieved 2006-11-05. "If they can die for Italy then can play for Italy!" thundered Italy's commanding chief Vittorio Pozzo. 
  5. ^ Martin, Simon (2004-12-10). Football and Fascism: The National Game Under Mussolini. Oxford: Berg. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-85973-705-7. 
  6. ^ a b Taylor, pg 91.
  7. ^ Taylor, pg 93
  8. ^ a b Taylor, pg 96.
  9. ^ a b c Taylor, pg 101.
  10. ^ http://www.ilrestodelcarlino.it/civitanova_marche/2009/02/24/153789-potenza_picena_paese_tarocchi.shtml
  11. ^ "Italy squad: Josh Sole (Viadana)". RBS6Nations. Archived from the original on 2006-06-12. Retrieved 2006-11-05. Although Sole's family is Italian, he was born in Hamilton, New Zealand 
  12. ^ Jonathan McConnell (2006-10-26). "Stanojevic in line to face Wallabies". Guinness Premiership. Retrieved 2006-11-06. Marko Stanojevic .. made his debut against Portugal ... then went on to earn his second cap against Russia. [dead link]
    "Mr Bow Jangles" (2003-10-17). "THE BOW FILES: MARKO STANOJEVIC". Sport Network. Retrieved 2006-11-06. Place of Birth: Birmingham...Dad: Milan (Yugoslavian)...Mum: Bruna (Italian) 
  13. ^ Taylor, pg 87.
  14. ^ Taylor, pg 98.
  15. ^ Taylor, pg 99