Tuesday, December 13, 2016

French-Born Players Capped by other national teams

Anthony Lopes and Guerreiro won the Euro 2016 after beating France in Paris
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Players born in the Overeseas Department and former French Colonies
French Black Players
Parisian nation team in World Cup 2018
Argentine-born players capped by other national teams
German-born players capped by other national Teams
Brazilian players capped by other national teams
English born players capped by other national teams

I have created blog entries for Brazilian-born players, Argentine-born players and German-born who were capped by other countries.  This is my selection of a 23 member all-time team for French-born players capped by other country.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals. 

Due to its colonial past, France is becoming an ever-more-multiethnic society.  Many sons of immigrants decided to represent the national teams of their motherland.  At the 2014 World Cup, there were 25 French-born players representing other countries — 16 alone for Algeria. That's not only enough to field another full team for France, but also five more players than are actually on the French team, Les Bleus, in Brazil. 

In Euro 2016, Medhi Benatia, Riyad Mahrez and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would have helped France.  Instead, they lost to Portugal that consisted three French-born players, Adrien Silva, Anthony Lopes and Raphaël Guerreiro on their team.

Two years later, 52 footballers at the 2018 World Cup Finals were born in France.  Two members of France' team was not born in France.  Between 2002 and 2018, about 216 French-born footballers went to the World Cup Finals.  On those same World Cup Finals, France featured 12 World Cup team members born outside of France.  French-born players are the highest numbers of all players born in the last 5 World Cups.

GK: Anthony Lopes (Portugal)
Anthony Lopes came through the ranks with Olympique Lyonnais in France and made his professional debut in 2013.  At the time of writing, it is only club.  He made his first team debut in 2011.  Born in France of a Portuguese father, he chose to play for Portugal internationally.  He played for their youth team and then, the senior national team.  He was the backup keeper for the Euro 2016 winning team and the World Cup team in 2018.

GK: Raïs M'Bolhi (Algeria)
M'Bolhi was born in Paris, France to a Congolese father and Algerian mother. He started playing football (soccer) for RCF Paris. Then, he joined Olympique de Marseille, though he never made a league appearance before his release in January 2006. He played in Turkey, Bulgaria, the USA, Russia, etc. He was capped by France at the youth level before switching to Algeria.  He played in both WC Finals in 2010 and 2014.

GK: Édouard Mendy (Senegal)
Born in France, Edouard Mendy has played for Senegal since 2018.  He initially joined up with Guinea Bissau in honour of his fatherHe started his professional career at AS Cherbourg.  Later, he played for Reims and Rennes.  In 2020, he joined Chelsea.  In his first season, he helped the club to win the Champions' League.  He was the first African keeper to start in the Final since Bruce Grobbelaar in 1985.  

RB: Guy Demel  (Ivory Coast)
Demel started his career in France with Nîmes Olympique before joining English club Arsenal in 2000. He then played in Germany for ten years, signing for Borussia Dortmund in 2001 and then Hamburger SV in 2005. He also played with West Ham United and Dundee United. Demel was born in France but represented Ivory Coast making 35 appearances. He was in the Ivorian squad for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.

CB: Kalidou Koulibal (Senegal)
Kalidou Koulibal played with Metz and Ghent before making a move to Napoli.  He played for the U-20 French side. However, in early September 2015, Koulibaly changed federations and joined the Senegal national football team, despite the interest to call him for Les Bleus from Didier Deschamps. In 2014, he moved to Napoli, where he became a star player. 

CB: Medhi Benatia (Morocco) 
Born in France of Moroccan and Algerian roots, Medhi Benatia chose to play for Morocco. He first made a name with Udinese and then, AS Roma, where he was considered a top defender in the Serie A.  In the summer of 2014, he joined Bayern Munich.  In 2016, he returned to Italy to play for Juventus.  Since 2008, he has been representing Morocco.  He was a part of the team that went to the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia.
Medhi Benatia
CB: Noureddine Kourichi (Algeria)
Born in France, Noureddine Kourichi chose to represent Algeria. Between 1980 and 1985, he had 30 caps for Algeria. He played in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup Finals. He played in 5 out of six games in those Finals.  For club football, he played with Valenciennes, Girondines Bordeaux and Lille in France.  

CB: Abdoulaye Méïté (Ivory Coast)
Born in France, Abdoulaye Méïté was capped 46 times for Ivory Coast.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2006. He played across Europe for various clubs.  His longest career was with Olympique de Marseille, where he played between 2000 and 2006.  He also played in England for Bolton Wanderers and West Bromwich Albion.  

LB:  Benoît Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon)
Benoît Assou-Ekotto was born in France of Cameroonian heritage. He chose to represent Cameroon in football after rejecting callus by the French youth team.  He was capped 24 times between 2009 and 2014, He was a member of Cameroon's World Cup team in 2010 and 2014.  He started his career with Lens.  He had played 7 seasons with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He also played for Queen's Park Rangers, St. Etienne and FC Metz.    
Benoît Assou-Ekotto 
LB: Raphaël Guerreiro (Portugal)
Born in France, Raphaël Guerreiro began his career at Caen, signing in 2013 with Lorient where he made his Ligue 1 debut. In June 2016, he joined Borussia Dortmund. Guerreiro represented Portugal at under-21 and senior level, first appearing for the latter in 2014. He was part of their squad at Euro 2016, winning the tournament.

CM/DM: Mohamed "Momo" Sissoko (Mali)
Momo Sissoko began his professional career with Valencia in Spain.  He would play for Liverpool, PSG, Juventus, Forientina and Shanghai Shenhua. Born in France, he was capped by Mali between 2003 and 2013. He is the nephew of Salif Keita, and the uncle of Seydou Keita. At the end of his career, he played  club football in India, China, Mexico and Hong Kong.

CM/DM: Petit (Portugal)
Born in France, Peit's full name was Armando Gonçalves Teixeira, he received the moniker Petit because of his small frame, and also because he was born in France. He moved back to Portugal when he was young.  He made his name with Boavista FC before joining Benfica in 2002. He also played for Koln in Germany.  He was capped 58 times. He was also a member of the national team that reached the final at the Euro 2004, hosted by Portugal.  He also went to the World Cup in 2006 and Euro 2008.
CM/DM: Tobias Linderoth (Sweden)
Tobias Linderoth began his career in Sweden and Norway. In 2001, he joined Everton in the English Preimer League. Later, he played for  Copenhagen and Galatasaray.  Linderoth was a midfield dynamo on the Swedish national team, where he also served as the vice-captain. Tobias played for Sweden in the European Championship of both 2004 and 2008, as well as in the 2002 and 2006  World Cup tournaments. He was born in France while his father Anders Linderoth was playing football there.
Tobias Linderoth
AM/CM: Dušan Maravić (Yugoslavia)
Born in France, his family moved back to Yugoslavia after the War. In 1958, aged 19 he became a member of Yugoslavian giants Red Star Belgrade. In six years with Red Star,  Maravić appeared in 232 official matches, scoring 82 goals. He was capped 7 times. After winning the gold Olympic medal, he was allowed to go abroad. He played for Racing Paris until 1969 when he shortly moved to OFK Beograd, and then proceed to Venezuelan Deportivo Italia.

AM/RW: Mustapha Hadji (Morocco)
Mustapha Hadji grew up in France, but chose to represent Morocco in 1993. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1994 and 1998.  After the World Cuo Finals in 1998, he won the African Player of the Year award that year.  He was named the 50th greatest African player of all time by African football expert Ed Dove. Professionally, he played for many clubs mainly in Spain and England. He had stints with Nancy, Sporting SP, Deportivo La Coruna, Coventry, Aston Villa, etc.
Mustapha Hadji
RW: Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
Born in France, Riyad Mahrez joined Leicester from La Harve in 2014.  He helped Leicester Town to win the Premiership in 2015-2016.  He won the PFA Players' Player of the Year, and was a member of the Premier League PFA Team of the Year as he helped Leicester City win the Premier League.  In 2018, he joined Manchester City. For the national team, he was eligible to play for France. He was selected to play for Algeria at Brazil 2014, but only played in one match. 
Riyad Mahrez 
LW/FW: Istvan Nyers (Hungary)
Istvan Nyers was of the same age as the members of the Mighty Magyars, but he was not a member of them.  He was capped twice by Hungary between 1945 and 1946. Born in France of Hungarian immigrants, he moved back to Hungary and played for various clubs in Eastern Europe.  He joined Inter Milan in 1948, where he won two Serie A titles and finished as the top scorer of the league.

LW: Andre Ayew (Ghana)
Ayew is the son of Abedi Pele.  He began his career in Ghana, playing for Nania. In 2005, he signed with his father's former club, Marseille. He made over 200 appearances and winning consecutive Trophée des champions and Coupe de la Ligues in both 2010 and 2011. He also played for Swansea. In 2011 Ayew was named the BBC African Footballer of the Year and Ghanaian Footballer of the Year. He represented Ghana at the WC Finals in 2010 and 2014.

LW/AM: Joseph-Desire Job (Cameroon)
Job played for Lens and Lyons in France. After starting his career in France, Job moved to English team Middlesbrough, where he spent six years and is most remembered for scoring one of the two goals in the 2004 League Cup Final, where Middlesbrough won their first ever trophy. He also played for clubs in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Belgium. Whilst playing for Saudi club Al-Ittihad, he won the 2005 AFC Champions League and scored in the final.

FW: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
He began his career at Milan, who loaned him to four French clubs before he joined Saint-Étienne permanently in 2011. After winning the 2013 Coupe de la Ligue Final, he joined Dortmund, where he has twice won the DFL-Supercup in 2013 and 2014. Despite playing once for France Under-21, Aubameyang made his senior international debut for Gabon in 2009, and has represented them at three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and the 2012 Olympics. He is the African Player of the Year of 2015.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
ST: Frederic Kanoute  (Mali)
Frederic Kanoute won two UEFA Cups while playing for Sevilla in Spain.  He was African Player of the Year in 2007.  He was born in France.  He was capped by French youth team, but he did not received any senior callup from France. He represented Mali internationally in the senior level.  He also played in France for Lyon, in England for West Ham and Tottenham, and in China for Beijing Guoan.
Frederic Kanoute 
ST: Felice Borel (Italy)
Borel was born in Nice, France. During his career, he played for Juventus and cross-city rivals Torino in Serie A and, in Serie B, for Alessandria, and finally for S.S.C. Napoli. He scored 157 goals for Juventus, winning three Serie A titles. He is currently Juventus's sixth highest goal scorer.  At the international level, he was capped 3 times. He was a part of the 1934 World Cup winning team.

ST: Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)
Higuain first starred for River Plate in Argentina.  He joined Real Madrid in 2006.  He would stay with the club until 2013.  Higuain later played with Napoli and Juventus.  In the 2015–16 season, he scored 36 league goals, winning the Capocannoniere title and equalling Gino Rossetti's 87-year-old record for goals in an Italian top-flight season. For the national team, he earned 52 caps.  He was brought into the national team after Argentina struggled to qualify for South Africa 2010.
Gonzalo Higuain 

Honorable Mention
Jacques Fatton(Switzerland), Adrien Silva (Portugal), Madjid Bougherra (Algeria), Mamadou Samassa(Mali), Faouzi Ghoulam (Algeria), Demba Ba (Senegal), Jordan Ayew (Ghana), Sofiane Feghouli (Algeria), Ludovic Obraniak (Poland), Jan Michaelsen (Denmark), Jean-Joël Perrier-Doumbé (Cameroon),  Moussa Sow (Senegal), Lamine Sané (Senegal), Ali Ahamada (Comoria), Erwin Vandendaele (Belgium), Sanjin Prcić (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Sanel Jahić (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Nicolas Pépé (Ivory Coast), Marouane Chamakh (Morocco), Armando Álvarez (France), Jean-Joël Perrier-Doumbé (Cameroon), Karl Toko Ekambi (Cameroon), Matthieu Dossevi (Togo), Mamadou Samassa (Mali), Younès Belhanda (Morocco), Geoffrey Kondogbia (Central African Republic), Édouard Mendy (Senegal), Loïc Négo (Hungary), Aymeric Laporte (Spain), Armando Álvarez (Spain), Cyrille Regis (England), David Regis (USA), Romain Saïss (Morocco).

Squad Explanation
-- This blog post is based on birth place. 
-- All French-born players who were capped by France in the senior level and later switched to another national team are not selected. France did not lose those players. So I am excluding a lot of French-AlgeriansMany of them who was capped by France switched to play for Algeria after its independence from France.
-- Tobias Linderoth is the son of Swedish football coach Anders Linderoth.  Tobias was born in France during Anders' spell at Marseille. His selection to this team is based upon his birth place.
-- Gonzalo Higuaín was born in France while his Argentine father Jorge was playing club football there.  He left France at the age of ten months and does not speak French, but retains French citizenship in addition to his Argentine nationality.   Early in his career, he was undecided to play for Argentina or France. 
-- Liked Higuain, David Trezeguet was the son of an Argentine footballer playing in France.  He grew up in Argentina, but he chose to play for France. So he is ineligible. 
-- The father of the Ayew brothers is Abedi Pele.  So they played for Ghana and they are Ghanians, but again this blog was about the place of birth.  So they are eligible.
-- Raphaël Guerreiro, Adrien Silva and Anthony Lopes were members of the Portuguese national team that beat France in the Final of Euro 2016 held in France.  Raphaël Guerreiro and Anthony Lopes are on this team while Adrien Silva made honorable mention.
-- Felice Borel is the only player who won a World Cup eligible for this team. Born in France, Felice Borel was capped by Italy.  He never played for France, making him eligible.  He was the Serie A Top-scorer: 1932–33 (29 goals), 1933–34 (31 goals).  He was a part of the Italian national team that won the 1934 World Cup.  He must be the first French-born player to have won the World Cup.
-- Mustapha Hadji who was eligible for France chose to play for Morocco in 1993 before France was eliminated by Bulgaria in the World Cup Qualifiers.  He did not know that France won't be going to the 1994 World Cup Finals when he earned his first cap for Morocco.  His decision had not nothing to do with France's elimination from the World Cup Finals. If he chose to play for France, Hadji might make an impact during France's Golden Generation in the 1990's.  
-- In 2002, Senegal beat France 1-0 at the World Cup Finals.  France would suffer a first round exit.  Most of the players were based in France.  However, only two players Sylvain N'Diaye and Habib Beye were born in France.
--  Riyad Mahrez helped Leicester Town to win the Premiership in 2015-2016.  He won the PFA Players' Player of the Year that year.  He could have a strong career with France.  Perhaps, he would have been a World Cup winner in 2018.
-- Mamadou Samassa played for Mali.  The other keepers all went to a World Cup Finals or an European Championship.
-- István Nyers was the son of a Hungarian miner working in France.  Raymond Kopa had a similar background, but he played for France.  So he is ineligible while Nyers is on this team.
-- I only brought 10 defenders so that I can bring Joseph-Desire Job.
-- I chose two leftbacks out of Raphaël Guerreiro, Faouzi Ghoulam, and Benoît Assou-Ekotto.
-- Leroy Sané was born in Germany, which made him ineligible for this team.  His father Souleyman Sané grew up in France and met Leroy's mother who was German while serving in the French army stationed in Germany.  He played for Senegal internationally.
-- None of the players were professional footballers who were naturalised because of playing club football in their adopted country.  Brazilian players capped by other national teams were mainly naturalised players.
-- In 2021, I replaced goalkeeper Charles Itandje with Édouard Mendy.
Born in France, Charles Itandje was capped by France at the youth level, but chose to represent Cameroon at the senior level.  He was their starting keeper at 2014 World Cup Finals. He started with Lens in 2001.  In 2007, he moved to Liverpool, but did not find playing time. Since 2009. he has been playing in the Greek and Turkish league. Mendy on the other hand helped Chelsea to win the 2021 Champions' League.  He established himself as Chelsea;s first choice in which Itandje failed to do so in a major club.
-- Cyrille Regis was born in French Guiana, which was a French oversea department.


1 comment:

  1. Great research Lincoln!
    Chabane-Merzekane could be the right back,
    Younes-Belhanda could be in midfield and Thiago-Alcantara is the best i could find.