Tuesday, December 5, 2017

French Algerian Greatest All-Time Team

France vs Algeria in 2001

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
French Black Players 
South France.
Players born in the Overeseas Department and former French Colonies
French Players Capped by Other National Teams
African American PlayersGerman Americans/American Germans
German Turks 
Hispanic/Latino American Players
Polish diaspora.
Black Portuguese Players
Afro-Brazilian Players 
Dutch-Indos/Indonesia-born Dutch All-Time Team

This is my selection of an All-Time Team for French-Algerians.  It is a team made up of Algerian-born players who represented for France, French-born players who represented for Algeria or French players who were of Algerian ethnicity. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.

The French conquest of Algeria took place between 1830 and 1847.  The colonial rule lasted until 1962.  As a result, many Algerians loved in France Today.  As for the sport, As early as the first World Cup Finals in 1930, the French Algerians have represented the French national team.  Zinedine Zidane is one of the greatest French players of all-time.  Before Algeria's independence, the FLN football team, a team made up by Algerian players based in France was an unofficial national team for the colonial Algeria in its fight for independence. The team later became the basis of the first Algerian national team. Today, a large number of French-Algerians represent Algeria on the football stage.
Zidane vs Algeria

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: Georges Lamia (France)
Born in French Algeria, Georges Lamia played for USM Annaba in Algeria before heading to play in France for Nice in 1956, La Havre and Stade Rennais.  His main club was Nice in Southern France. For the national team, he had 7 caps. He represented France at the 1960 European Championship, where France took fourth place.

GK: Abderrahman Ibrir (France)
Born in Algeria, Abderrahman Ibrir began his career with Bordeaux. From 1947 to 1951, he played for Toulouse.  Later, he played for Marseille. On the international level, he has six caps with the French national team between 1949 and 1950.  He also played for FLN.

RB: Aïssa Mandi (Algeria)
Aïssa Mandi was born in France.  He started to play football at the age of 8 at Stade de Reims. On 20 August 2010, he made his professional debut as a starter for the club in a Ligue 2 match against Le Havre AC.  Since 2016, he played for Real Betis. He received his first cap for Algeria in 2014 and was on their 2014 World Cup team.

CB/RB: Mustapha Zitouni (France/Algeria)
Mustapha Zitouni was capped 4 times by France in the late 1950's.  He was on France's 1952 Olympic team.  He went on to represent the FLN football team, and then, Algeria when it became independent.  Zitouni began his career with OM Saint-Eugène in 1950. He then played in France for Cannes, Monaco and Chartres. His longest stint was with AS Monaco between 1954 and 1958. While in Algeria, he played club football for RC Kouba.
Mustapha Zitouni (L)
CB: Madjid Bougherra (Algeria)
Madjid Bougherra began his career with Gueugnon before playing with English sides Crewe Alexandra, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic. He moved to Scotland's Rangers in 2008. He also played for Lekhwiya and Aris. Bougherra won over 70 caps for Algeria. He served as the team's captain at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

CB: Christian Lopez (France)
Christian Lopez was a member of Michel Platini's Saint Etiene that dominated French football in the 1970's. Liked his club mate Gerard Janvion, he went to the World Cup Finals in 1978 and 1982.  He had 39 caps. Lopez was born in French Algeria of Spanish-French background. He also played for Toulouse FC and Montpellier after he left St. Etiene.

CB: Noureddine Kourichi (Algeria)  
Born in France, Noureddine Kourichi chose to represent Algeria internationally. 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: 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, 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 playing for Juventus, where he played in their famous defence.  

LB: William Ayache (France)
William Ayache played for a number of clubs in France.  He won two championship teams in France in 1980 and 1983 with FC Nantes. In 1984, he participated at the Summer Olympic Games on the French national team, winning the gold medal, and was also a member of the French team that finished third in the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Altogether, he was capped 20 times for his country.
William Ayache

LB: Abdelkader Ben Bouali (France)
Born in French Algeria, Abdelkader Ben Bouali was a substitute player for France at the 1938 World Cup Finals, but he only played once for France in 1937 against Ireland. For domestic club football, he played with Emmanuel Aznar, Mario Zatelli and Larbi Benbarek for Marseilles.

DM: Jean Bastien (France)
Born in French Algeria, he spent most of his career playing for two club based in Marseille, Olympique de Marseille and GSC Marseille.  He also played at Racing Club de France in 1938-1939 and two in Toulouse FC in 1940-1941 and 1941-1942. he was the captain of Olympique de Marseille.  He ended his career as player-coach at Montpellier HSC in 1950 - 1951.  Capped 4 times.  He played at the quarterfinal of 1938 WC Finals against Italy.

DM: Alexandre Villaplane (France)
Villaplane was the first ever player of Northern African origin to represent France.  He played 25 times for France. He captained France at the 1930 WC Finals.  In his career he played for FC Sète, Nimes Olympique, Racing Club de France, FC Antibes and OGC Nice. During the Second World War, he helped the Nazi Germans' occupation of France and was a SS officer.  He was executed as a Nazi collaborator at the end of the War.

AM/CM:  Ali Fergani (Algeria)
Ali Fergani was born in France. He was capped 66 times for Algeria between 1973 and 1986. He was the playmaker for Algeria at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, where Algeria beat West Germany, the reigning European Champion.  He also went to the Olympics in 1980. On the same year, he went to the African Nations of Cup, where Algeria finished second. He was the runner-up at the African Player of the Year award in 1981. Fergani played club football for NA Hussein Dey and JE Tizi-Ouzo.
Ali Fergani

AM: Karim Ziani (Algeria)
Ziani is considered to be a national hero by many Algerians, he assisted the goal that put them into their first World Cup Finals since 1986. He has participated in the 2004 and 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, the latter in which Algeria finished fourth, and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Overall, he has 62 caps.  For his club career, he played in France, Germany and Qatar.

AM: Zinedine Zidane (France)
Zinedine Zidane was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll, and has been described as one of the greatest players in the history of the game.  He won the FIFA World Player of the Year award three times.  He led France to victory at  the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.  With Real Madrid, he also won the Champions League in 2002, where he scored one of the greatest goals in history at the Final against Bayer Leverkusen. 
Zinedine Zidane 
AM:Samir Nasri (France)
Since Samir Nasri was young, he was often compared to Zidine due to his Algerian background.  He started his  his career with Marseille, and reached stardom in England with Arsenal and Manchester City.  He was voted French Player of the Year in 2010.  He played 41 times for France. He was a member both 2008 and 2012 European Championship team.

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: Yacine Brahimi (Algeria)
Brahimi began his career with Rennes. While in the club's youth academy, he achieved several club honours. After spending the previous season there on loan, he moved to the La Liga club Granada CF in 2013, and then to Porto for €6.5 million one year later. An Algerian international, Brahimi is a former France youth international having represented the country at all youth levels. He played in 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations for Algeria.

FW: Kylian Mbappé (France)
Mbappe was a well-known youth player in France before making his senior debut with AS Monaco in 2015.  He quickly established himself as one of the best young players in the world.  In the summer of 2017, Monaco sent him to Paris St Germain on loan for a buyout option of around €180 million at the end of the loan. In 2017, he made his national team debut, becoming the second youngest ever French international.

FW:  Abdelaziz Ben Tifour (France/Algeria)
Abdelaziz Ben Tifour for France at the 1954 World Cup Finals.  He had a notable career in the French league, especially with Nice.  He was one of the founding member of FLN Algeria national team.  He was one of the most important persons in the history of Algerian football. At the club level, he played for Nice. He moved to Troyes AC after six seasons with Nice in 1954 and then signed for AS Monaco in 1956.

ST: Rachid Mekhloufi (France/Algeria)
Rachid Mekhloufi is the all-time leading scorer for Saint-Etienne in France, where he played from 1954 to 1958.  He won 4 Ligue 1 titles with them in the 1960's.  Liked many French-Algerian of his generation, he was capped by France.  He played 4 times for France between 1956 and 1957.  He later played for FLN Algeria national team and then, Algeria after it gained independence. He was the co-manager of the Algeria national football team in the 1982 World Cup.
Rachid Mekhloufi 
ST: Karim Benzema (France)
Karim Benzema was billed as one of the best young players in Europe when he played for Lyon.  In 2009, he made a dream move to Real Madrid on the same summer that Kaka and Cristano Ronaldo joined the club.  He won 4 Champions' League titles with Real Madrid, where he formed the "BBC" line with Cristano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.  For the national team, he played in the 2014 World Cup Finals, but missed out in the World Cup Finals of 2010 and 2018. He had 81 caps since 2007.
Karim Benzema

Honorable Mention

Mario Zatelli, Cédric Si Mohamed, Nadir Belhadj, Antar Yahia, Yuri Berchiche, Carl Medjani, Sofiane Feghouli, Faouzi Ghoulam, Medhi Lacen, Yazid Mansouri, Mahi Khennane, Ahmed Mihoubi, Ali Benouna, Said Brahimi, Adlene Guedioura.

Squad Explanation
-- Abdelaziz Ben Tifour, Zinedine Zidane and Mustapha Zitouni  are probably automatic selection.  They do not need introduction.  Karim Benzema is close enough of being one. Kylian Mbappé will one day become an automatic selection.
-- All Algerian national team members selected here are born in France. I included any Algerian-born players who represented France or French-born Algerians who played for Algeria. 
-- Algeria won the 2019 African Cup of Nations. Raïs M'Bolhi and Riyad Mahrez are already on this all-time team before the tournament. Adlene Guedioura is added to the honorable mention.  All three players were born in France.
-- I considered the FLN national team as the Algerian national team.  All FLN matches are counted as "caps" for Algeria. 
-- Abderrahman Ibrir,  Mustapha Zitouni,  Abdelaziz Ben Tifour and Rachid Mekhloufi represented the FLN national team.
-- -- I am including Pieds-Noirs (Europeans who settled in French Algeria). 
-- Noureddine Kourichi and Ali Fergani represented Algeria at the 1982 World Cup Finals where Alegria beat West Germany 2-1 in the first round.  Ali Fergani was a key player of that generation.  He grew up in Algeria.
--  Georges Lamia was born in  Algeria and he is listed as a Pieds-Noir.  I also included Christian Lopez who was also born in Algeria. He is of Spanish background.
-- I added Abderrahman Ibrir to the team in May, 2019.  I did not know much him about him.
-- Mohamed Benhamou and Cédric Si Mohamed would be the third and fourth keeper.
-- I excluded a few Algerians who played in the French league because I do not know if they are considered to be French-Algerian. For example, Abdelhamid Kermali is an Algerian who played in the French league, but I do not know if he is eligible to play for France. I am opened to his inclusion later on.  There is a difference between an Algerian playing in France and a French-Algerian.  The same applied to Ahmed Oudjani who was the all-time leading scorer for RC Lens.  He never played for France, but later later played for FLN.  His son Chérif Oudjani, however, was born in France, but played for Algeria.
-- Rachid Mekhloufi was capped by France, despite being born in Algeria. The fact that he was capped by France made him eligible.  He is a French-Algerian.
-- Alexandre Villaplane was born in Algeria while it was under France.  He was the captain of the French national at the 1930 World Cup Finals.  He was probably good enough to be selected. Despite of the fact being a war criminal, I selected him based on his football career.
-- I have several good left backs: Ghoulam and Nadir Belhadj, but I do not have a good rightback.  So I took Aïssa Mandi.
-- Medhi Benatia played for Morocco, but he was born in France and his mother is Algerian, which made him eligible for this team. He is the only player who did not represent either France or Algeria.
-- Kylian Mbappé's mother is Algerian.  He was added to the squad during the 2018 World Cup Finals un Russia. He proved himself at a major World Cup tournament.  I have no problem of selecting a teenager to the team.  I dropped striker Said Brahimi (France) for him.
-- Rachid Mekhloufi is the all-time leading scorer for Saint-Etienne in France.
--  Zinedine Zidane, Karim Benzema, Karim Ziani and Samir Nasri are of Algerian Kabyle descent.
-- I do not know the ethnicity of some of the players.  
-- Abdelaziz Ben Tifour was a founding memeber of FLN national team.



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