Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit is among those who have chosen to criticise Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte over reports he has chosen to switch allegiances from France to Spain.
The centre-back is still waiting for his first France cap despite playing for one of the best clubs in world football over the past few seasons.
He has been called up by Didier Deschamps but he’s never made it onto the pitch as a full France international after playing throughout the youth levels.
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Marca ran a story yesterday which claimed Laporte ‘will play’ for Spain at the European Championship after Spain coach Luis Enrique ‘asked the leaders of the Spanish Football Federation weeks ago to study the possibility’ of the City defender switching.
That has resulted in a furious backlash in France with national newspaper L’Equipe writing: ‘Laporte has succumbed to the Iberian sirens when he has never yet worn the shirt of the French ‘A’ team.’
Jerome Rothen, who played for Paris Saint-Germain and France, was annoyed at the “opportunistic” nature of Laporte’s decision.
Rothen said: “When you sign up and feel French, you go with France. If you feel Spanish, you go with Spain. But don’t be opportunistic.”
Meanwhile, France legend Petit weighed in on the debate, he said: “So you can choose the country you want? Do you want to? He had claimed his love for the French team and suddenly went to Spain.”
Speaking back in December 2018, Laporte insisted that he wouldn’t be swapping France for Spain despite claiming Deschamps wasn’t picking him for “personal reasons”.
Laporte said: “The coach isn’t picking me for personal reasons, but I have to respect that. I don’t think it’s a sporting issue. You’ll have to ask him why he doesn’t call me. I don’t have anything against him. If someone has a problem, it’s him with me.
“I’m not going to call him. The only person who can solve this is the coach, but playing for Spain is out of the question. I’m fighting to play for France because I’m French. I don’t have dual citizenship and I’m not going to apply for it.”