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Home is where the heart is for Chile's Swedish-born defender Miiko Albornoz

Home is where the heart is for Chile's Swedish-born defender Miiko Albornoz

Posted by Juan Gavasa on February 16, 2014

Seeing as Friday was Valentine's Day, it would be fitting to focus on attraction, but more specifically the attraction of playing for Chile.

In the last week of January, a Chilean team consisting of mainly domestic-based players comfortably defeated Costa Rica, whose team was also made up of largely domestic-based players, 4-0. Out of the four goals, one was scored by a Swedish national and two more by an Argentinian-born forward.

The Swede in question is Malmö FF full-back Miiko Albornoz, who qualifies to play for Chile via his Chilean father. In December 2013, Albornoz rejected a call up from Sweden manager Erik Hamrén to represent his country of birth in a series of friendlies, a big blow for the Scandinavian team that he had represented at Under 17, U19 and U21 levels.

Although born and raised in Sweden, and with a Finnish mother, Albornoz's roots are deeply embedded in Chilean soil. In 1999, at just eight years of age, he was one of 16,273 fans who filled Santiago Wanderers' Playa Ancha stadium to see them beat Linares 2-1 and win promotion to the Primera Division, the Chilean first division. Since spending the turn of the millennium with family in Chile, Albornoz did not return to the country until December 2013; and his homecoming could not have been more emphatic.

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