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Sports

Bayern Munich's Rafinha gets Germany passport, now option for Joachim Löw

Having spent a decade in Germany, Rafinha has acquired German citizenship. While the Bayern defender has played down talk of a DFB call, the decision now rests with head coach Jogi Löw.

Bayern Munich defender Rafinha is now free to play for the German national team after receiving his German passport. The Brazilian-born player has made just two appearances for his country in friendly matches and confirmed this week he's now a German citizen.

After being called up to the Brazil squad in 2014, Rafinha pulled out amid rumors that the German FA had made an approach to the player. "Nobody has ever been in touch from the DFB," said the full-back in September.

"I've had this desire for a long time," he explained ahead of Bayern's Champions League clash with Dinamo Zagreb. "I've been in Germany for 10 years and I wanted to make sure of it for me and my family."

But the question can now be asked: will Joachim Löw call up Rafinha for the world champions?

"As long as he doesn't have a German passport, then it's not a topic for us," said Löw. Now a German citizen, the 30-year-old could solve the country's problems in full-back positions. When asked about pulling on a Germany shirt, he responded: "I want to focus on Bayern, and then we'll see what happens in the future."

Article 17 in FIFA's Statutes says there are four conditions to represent a team: being born in the relevant association, the parents were from the association, grandparents were born in the country or he has been there for more than five years.

The German passport would make things much easier for Rafinha and the prospect of a German call-up was positively received by his captain at Bayern Munich. "It's not for me to give advice to the national coach, but clearly Rafinha is an excellent footballer and a guy who had done a great job here," defender Philipp Lahm told "Eurosport" last month.

"If one can play a role at Bayern, then they can play in the national team as well."