Lyon’s French-Algerian midfielder Houssem Aouar, who has been capped once by France, said Thursday he was switching allegiance and will now play for Algeria.
The 24-year-old said the idea “was buzzing in my head” for a long time but the clincher came with an invite from Djahid Zefizef, the head of the Algerian football federation.
Despite having one cap for Les Bleus, Aouar said in a video aired by the Algerian football federation he had chosen to play for the Desert Warriors as “a large part of me is Algerian because of my origins and also the manner in which I have been brought up”.
He said he initially rejected the idea for fear of being labelled an “opportunist” but then the Algerian coach and the head of Algerian football “extended a hand, which I saw as fate and a second chance so I seized it”.
Aouar played once for France in a 2020 friendly match against Ukraine and has not received a call-up since then.
Because it was not a competitive game, he could switch to playing for Algeria, from where his parents hail.
“This selection means a lot to me, to my family, to my parents,” he said, explaining that it was “a choice dictated by the heart”.