Nice striker Andy Delort, who has been an Algeria international since 2019, has not been called up for the national team for the international break despite a successful start to the season.
Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi, however, has explained that it was the forward’s own choice to stay at home this time. His words transcribed in L’Équipe, Belmadi explained that Delort had sent him a message a few days ago to explain that he was prioritising his club commitments, in particular focusing on his competition for the striker’s spot with Kasper Dolberg and Amine Gouiri.
In order to ensure this, the former Montpellier forward explains, he will take a break from the national team for a year. As a result, he will not take part in AFCON 2022. Speaking to L’Équipe himself, Delort clarified that “it’s the result of a long reflection of which I made Djamel aware after a man-to-man discussion”.
“I won’t reveal the details as it was a private discussion, but there are many factors that come into play. First of all, my role in the national team. Aside from that, I will be 30 in two days and I’m at a key point in my career. I’ve just arrived at a club where the demands and the competition are a lot higher, I want to give myself the chance to succeed.”
“I have nothing to say [about Belmadi’s comments]. Just that the supposed clause in my contract is pure invention, as is the idea that someone else would dictate my own choices. I just hope my choice will be understood, people know me, I’m a man of integrity and I always give it my all. I think this choice is important for me this season, but I’m not retiring from the national team.”
RMC Sport had contacted Nice with regard to a supposed clause in his contract which Belmadi claimed would commit Delort to not play in the next AFCON. The club have denied this, adding that this practice is “illegal and holds no value”. Les Aiglons also indicated that there had been no verbal agreement stopping Delort from joining up with the national team.