Houssem Aouar, who has a selection with the Blues, decides to play for Algeria

Called up once for France in October 2020, the Olympique Lyonnais player announced on Thursday his desire to continue his international career with Fennec.

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Houssem Aouar during the friendly match between France and Ukraine, October 7, 2020, at Stade de France.  (JEAN CATUFFE/AFP)

Houssem Aouar draws a line under France. The 24-year-old Olympique Lyonnais midfielder announced on Thursday 16 March that he would continue his international career with the Algerian outfit. “Long live Algeria”, the dual national wrote in Arabic in a message posted on his social media where he appears with the Fennec shirt. Selected by Didier Deschamps during the October 2020 squad for France, Houssem Aouar had worn the tricolor shirt once, against Ukraine in a friendly match at the Stade de France.

In accordance with Fifa regulations, Houssem Aouar still had the option to change his sporting nationality, as the match he played with France was unofficial. Since the start of his professional career in 2016, the topic of playing for Algeria or the Blues has often come up on the player’s table. Carried from a Champions League Final 8 where he had been excellent with OL in the summer of 2020, the number 8 had taken the opportunity to discover the Blues in an empty Stade de France due to Covid-19.

Djamel Belmadi was already making his eyes in 2019

The midfielder has not been called up by Didier Deschamps since. Less than two hours before the French coach announced the squad list for the two matches against the Netherlands (March 24) and Ireland (March 27) on Thursday 16 March, Houssem Aouar made his decision official. He knows he is far from the coach’s plans and the level to rejoin the French team. Heralded as a great hope of French football, by the renowned training center of the OL, Lyonnais are experiencing an almost blank 2022-2023 season due to numerous injuries and poor performances.

The French-Algerian should therefore be chosen for Algeria’s next two matches against Niger (March 23 and 27). Fennecs coach Djamel Belmadi will be able to count on a player he has long wanted to have in the squad. “We will meet him with his family, we will explain the project to him and we will tell him what awaits him if he decides to return to his country.“, assured Djamel Belmadi in January 2019. Four years later, the project has matured in the mind of Houssem Aouar, who is preparing to return to the international level.

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