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Nabil Fékir: “My choice is France”

In an exclusive interview to L’Équipe, Lyon forward Nabil Fékir has seemingly put the saga that is his international status to bed after declaring his decision to play for France if and when he is chosen. 

On the France/Algeria decision…

“France is my choice. I spoke to Deschamps, who was very convincing. He told me he was counting on me, that I am an interesting player. I want to participate in Euro 2016. I am Frenchman of Algerian descent and I am very proud of that. I decided that it was in my best interest to choose to play France. I am not afraid. I made a personal decision and I hope that everyone will respect it. I’m sure everyone can I understand that I faced a difficult decision. I had never been chosen for any of the French youth teams, just one time with the U21s. There is however a certain logic to it that after playing for the “Espoirs” you want to play for the national team. Algeria is part of my heart, France too. My father would have liked to see me play for Algeria. But I am the footballer, and it is me who is on the pitch. It will be France and my decision will not be changed. I am very attached to this team. I want to make sure that there is no ambiguity here. I have made a decision, and it is final.”

On why he called Algeria boss Christian Gourcuff on Friday…

“I called him to tell him that I had not yet made my decision. I shouldn’t have called him. I made a mistake. I was a bit under pressure.”

On how he hopes to be perceived in Algeria…

“I go there from time to time. I just hope to be considered as as a Frenchman of Algerian origin. Nothing more, nothing less. I love Algeria just as much as I love France.”

On his greatest memory for France…

“The 2006 World Cup, Zidane’s panenka in the final against Italy. To play for France, it is a childhood dream for me.”

On the attacking talent in the current France team…

“There are some very, very good players. It is a risk to take and I am ready to take it. If I am called up by les Bleus, I know very well that it does not mean I will be a starter. A career is built in stages.”

On changing representation…

“I left my last agent due to personal reasons. A lot of agents have since approached me. I was the one who decided to call Jean-Pierre Bernès in the last few days to work with him. He is the best French (agent). His experience will allow me to reach the highest level.”

On his support system at Lyon…

“Jean Michel Aulas and Bernard Lacombe support me a lot. They are looking to protect me. Their presence is something I can feel fortunate to have.”

On Lyon’s title chances…

“We hope to be (Ligue 1 champions). But there are still 10 games left, that is a long time. With Alexandre Lacazette and Yoann Gourcuff we have a very good understanding, which is a good thing for the team.”

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