Tuesday, December 5, 2017

French Algerian Greatest All-Time Team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

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 
British Jamaicans
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, wherte he won a single league title. For the national team, he had 7 caps. He represented France at the 1960 European Championship, where France took fourth place.  He also represented Ligue de Constantine de football (an area in French Algeria).

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 played in the important playoff game of the 1950 World Cup Qualifiers against Yugoslavia in 1950.  He also played for FLN at the end of his career.

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 and AFCON 2019 winning team.  As of 2022, he had 74 caps.

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.  He played 70 games for Algeria.

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.  He left for Qatar in 2019.

LB: William Ayache (France)
William Ayache was born in Algeria.  He 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
Born in France of Algerian parents, Faouzi Ghoulam was capped by France at the youth level.  He switched to play for Algeria at the senior level in 2013. He went on to play for Algeria at the World Cup Finals in 2014.  He started his career with AS Saint-Étienne in 2010.  From 2014 to 2022, he played for Napoli in Italy. He was Algeria Player of the Year in 2017. He was on Europe League team of the Year. His brother Nabil is a cross country runner that represented France.

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/FW: Mustapha Dahleb (Algeria)
Dahleb held the record for all-time leading scorer for Paris Saint-Germain in the French first division with 85 goals before being surpassed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  Dahleb is the club's third all-time goalscorer in all competitions, with 98 goals.  He also played for Sedan and Nice.  Dahleb played with the Algerian national team in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, where Algeria beat West Germany.

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. He helped Algeria to win the AFCON in 2019.
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. He later played for them. 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.
Abdelaziz Ben Tifour
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.

ST: Karim Benzema (France)
Karim Benzema made his name with Lyon.  In 2009, he moved to Real Madrid where he won 5 Champions League. Over there, he formed the BBC line with Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.  In 2022, he was Real Madrid best players as they won the Champions' League and la Liga Double. He won the Ballon D'or in 2022. For the national team, he played in the 2014 World Cup Finals as well as Euro 2020. He had 81 caps since 2007.
Karim Benzema

Honorable Mention
Mohamed Benhamou, Cédric Si Mohamed, Carl Medjani, Antar Yahia, Nadir Belhadj, Abdelkader Ben Bouali, Yuri Berchiche, Carl Medjani, Sofiane Feghouli, Medhi Lacen, Mahi Khennane, Ahmed Mihoubi, Ali Benouna, Adlene Guedioura, Jean-François Larios, Marcel Salva, Yazid Mansouri, Nabil Fekir, Chérif Oudjani, Mario Zatelli, Said Brahimi, Houssem Aouar, Omar Sahnoun, Mourad Meghni, Camel Meriem, Kader Firoud, Karim Ziani, Ismaël Bennacer, Mohamed Maouche.

Squad Explanation
-- This team was created in 2017.  I did a review of the team in September, 2022.
-- Abdelaziz Ben Tifour, Zinedine Zidane, Mustapha Zitouni, Rachid Mekhloufi, Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé were automatic selections. 
-- All Algerian national team members selected here are born in France. I included any Algerian-born and ethnic Algerian players who represented France.
-- For the time being, I am including Pieds-Noirs (Europeans who settled in French Algeria).  There were positions that were reinforced by their presences.  In time, I would look into the matter.
-- 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 excluded a few Algerians who played in the French league because I do not know if they were 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.
-- 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.
-- Noureddine Kourichi and Ali Fergani represented Algeria at the 1982 World Cup Finals where Algeria beat West Germany 2-1 in the first round.  Ali Fergani was a key player in that generation.  He grew up in Algeria.
-- Zinedine Zidane, Karim Benzema, Karim Ziani and Samir Nasri are of Algerian Kabyle descent.
-- Forward Ali Benouna was the first ethnic Algerian to play for France.
-- A group of French-based Algerian footballers disappeared in April, 1958 from France and went to Tunis where the provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (GPRA) was located.  They were the founding members of FNL national team.  Abdelaziz Bentifour, Mustapha Zitouni, Rachid Mekhloufi and Mohamed Maouche were French international players.  I do not really know much about Maouche.  He had played for France, but the other three (or all four) were  said to be on France's 1958 provisional World Cup team.   Rachid Mekhloufi was a big star in France at the time.
-- Georges Lamia represented France at the 1960 European Championship.  He also represented a selection of "Ligue de Constantine de football"(an area in French Algeria).  He was a member of his club team Nice that won the league in 1959.
Georges Lamia
-- Then,  I added Abderrahman Ibrir to the team in May, 2019.  I did not know much him about him. He had a long club career in France.  He also played 6 times for France.  One of the caps came in the important 1950 World Cup qualifying playoff game against Yugoslavia.  So he had more experience playing at a higher level than the other candidates.  He also had represented FLN, but he was 40 years old by that time.  
-- Raïs M'Bolhi played well with the national team. He brought home the African Cup of Nations in 2019 while being named on the Team of the Tournament.  However, in actuality, his domestic club career was very modest, but his national team performance got him into the team.
-- Mohamed Benhamou and Cédric Si Mohamed would be the third and fourth keeper.  Both were born in France and capped by Algeria.
-- Matteo Ferrari was born in Algeria, but he was not French.
-- Mustapha Zitouni was probably Algeria's greatest defender.  He also contributed in the founding of the FLN national team.  He also played as a rightback.  Madjid Bougherra won Algerian Ballon D'or twice.  He also was frequently mentioned by several Arab sources as one of Algeria's greatest defender.  However, I did believe the sources got the same information from the same English source.  Nevertheless, I do believe that he would be a worthy selection for this team.  Christian Lopez was an All-timer for Saint-Etienne
Madjid Bougherra 
-- In 2014, I chose Medhi Benatia.  He was born in France of Moroccan and Algerian roots, making him a French Algerian.  He chose to represent Morocco.  He was the only player who had not represented France or Algeria at the senior level.  He was highly rated when he played AS Roma, but he had not lived up to his expectation during his stints with Bayern Munich and Juventus.  He still managed to play at the highest level in Europe for a long time.  In 2022, I continued to rule him eligible as he was a French Algerian.  I seriously considered replacing him with Carl Medjani and Antar Yahia.
 -- For rightback, I did not have much choices. So I selected two central defenders who could play on the right: Mustapha Zitouni and Aïssa Mandi. Mandi is becoming the most capped Algerian defender.  
-- I have several good left backs.  First, I took William Ayache from France's 1986 World Cup team.  In 2017, I selected over Abdelkader Ben Bouali.  In 2022, I replaced him with Faouzi Ghoulam.
-- Abdelkader Ben Bouali was the first North African descent to play for France (Alexandre Villaplane was an European born in Algeria), but he only capped once in 1937 against Ireland.  He was an unused player at the 1938 World Cup Finals.  His international career was affected by the Second World War. For domestic club football, he played with Emmanuel Aznar, Mario Zatelli and Larbi Benbarek for Marseilles. I do not know his actual playing position, but he was probably left central defender or leftback.   Since 2017, Faouzi Ghoulam proved himself playing in Italy.  He has won the Algerian Player of the Year in 2017. I also looked into Nadir Belhadj.
-- Alexandre Villaplane was born in Algeria while it was under France.  He was the captain of the French national team at the 1930 World Cup Finals.  He was probably good enough to be selected. Despite of the fact that he was a war criminal, I selected him based on his football career.  Ali Fergani was the defensive presence on the 1982 World Cup team.   He came third for the African Footballer of the Year award in 1981. Abdelaziz Ben Tifour also played as a centre-half. 
-- Ismaël Bennacer was a hero for Alegria's 2019 AFCON winning team.  He was named as the Player of the Tournament.  At the time of writing (2022), he was only 24 years, but he already spent 4 seasons in Serie A.  He could operate as a holding midfielder as well as a deep-lying playmaker.   He would be an interesting prospect later on.  At this moment, I continued to pick Jean Bastien over him.  
-- Jean-François Larios, a Pieds-Noir, also made honorable mention.  His relationship with Michel Platini's wife affected his football career.  He was the French Player of the Year in 1980.  He went to the 1982 World Cup as a potential star player, but barely played in it. With more international exposure, we might look at his career differently. He was the deep-lying midfielder for the great St-Etienne team in the 1970's, but injuries kept his career from taking off in Atletico Madrid.  
-- I do not go into Zindine Zidane so I started with Nasri.  Nasri was often considered to be a player who did not fulfill his expectation.  He also had conflicts with coaches and teammates throughout his career.  However,  he was very well-known while playing in the Premiership.  He was French Player of the Year in 2010 and also earned a spot on the PFA Team of the Year in the 2010-2011 season. He outdid most of the French Algerian players.  
Samir Nasri
-- In 2017, I somehow forgot about Mustapha Dahleb.  So in 2022, I replaced Karim Ziani with him. He held the record for all-time leading scorer for Paris Saint-Germain in the French first division with 85 goals before being surpassed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.  He started as a left winger and later played in the midfield.  
-- Karim 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. 
-- Omar Sahnoun was projected to be on France's 1978 World Cup team, but a heart problem caused him a spot on the team.  Two years later, he died at the age of 24 from a heart attack during a training session with his club.
-- Houssem Aouar is only 24 years old at this moment. So I left him on honorable mention.
-- On the right wing, Riyad Mahrez did not need introduction. I considered him one of Algeria's greatest ever footballers. He kept Sofiane Feghouli off the team.
-- On the left, Yacine Brahimi had won a number of individual awards.  He usually played on the left wing, but can start on the right and has generally cut inside to operate centrally.  Saïd Brahimi was said to be a left winger (see below). Mbappe's best position is probably the left wing forward.
-- In 2017, Karim Benzema, Abdelaziz Ben Tifour and Rachid Mekhloufi were undisputed selection. 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 had no problem of selecting a teenager to the team.  I dropped striker Said Brahimi (France) for him.
-- Saïd Brahimi only played twice for France, but he was the first Algerian player to score for France.  He participated in the 1958 World Cup Qualifiers, but he also fled France to join FLN in 1957.
-- Abdelaziz Ben Tifour was a founding member of FLN national team.  His last international match for France was October, 1957.  In April, 1958, he secretly left France to join FLN.  Some source that he bypassed his chance of playing in the 1958 World Cup Finals.
-- Rachid Mekhloufi was capped by France, despite being born in Algeria. The fact that he was capped by France made him eligible.  He is the all-time leading scorer for Saint-Etienne in France.  He was projected to be a star on the 1958 World Cup for France, but he left for Algeria before the World Cup Finals alongside Ben Tifour and others.
-- Mario Zatelli was on the 1938 World Cup team.  He was a Pied-Noir of Italian-descent. 

The formation largely has to do with starting all of the star French Algerian players.  Alexandre Villaplane is a controversial starter due to his war crimes, but I do not have a defensive midfielder suitable for the job.  

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