Postmortem on Nabil Fekir’s decision to pick France over Algeria


A few months ago, Nabil Bentaleb spoke about his decision to play for the Algerian national team. Bentaleb explained, ‘When I was younger and I used to watch matches on TV and France lost, I didn’t cry. But when Algeria lost, I would cry for hours.’ In late February Nabil Fekir made a very different declaration. He said, ‘I’ll announce my decision […]

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Aissa Mandi: Algeria’s defender is the Right Mandi for the Job


“I ask you to comply with the norms of civility” came the patient but tired voice of the announcer at the Stade de Geneve. He was pleading with the hordes of Algerian supporters who had spilled onto the pitch following a 2-1 victory against Romania in Algeria’s final pre-World Cup friendly. A number of them climbed onto the goalposts, others fought with police. […]

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Christian Gourcuff: Swapping Ligue 1 Warriors for Desert Warriors


Journalist Daniel Riolo once said, “Give Christian Gourcuff 10 million more in the budget and he’ll take Lorient to third place.” Though Riolo’s prediction was brave, under Gourcuff the suggestion would not have been impossible. In the last ten years, Gourcuff has overseen a constant improvement that has transformed FC Lorient from Ligue 2 welterweights to Ligue 1 competitors. Yet, […]

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Mustapha Zitouni : Obituary

On the fifth of January, a global tide of heartfelt condolences washed onto Lusitanian shores, lamenting the death of Benfica legend Eusébio. Old Trafford, Anfield, the Santiago Bernabeu, all paid their respects with a minute’s mourning prior to kickoff. It was a tragic bit of news that genuinely gripped the wider footballing community. But only a few hours after Eusébio’s […]

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Leicester City’s new cub “Algerian Di Maria” Riyad Mahrez


On 11 January Riyad Mahrez finally completed a transfer to Championship outfit Leicester City in a £400,000 move. The Blues are atop the Championship this season, and are looking to solidify their chances for promotion by augmenting their attacking personnel. Plenty of names were mentioned, among them Bradford City’s Nakhi Wells and journeyman striker Kevin Phillips. But it would be Riyad […]

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Five Girondins : Henri Saivet

Handmade jumpers, crafty television infomercial appliances, or a weathered album of postage stamps; Christmas tends to bring bizarre gifts in tow. Ones that you often forget, rediscover, and then learn to value. Henri Saivet is kind of like those enigmatic gifts. Saivet became the youngest Bordeaux player to ever sign a professional contract at the precarious age of 16. Tabloids […]

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Sochaux v Bastia; Boudebouz returns to Bonalona


They might not remember in Montbeliard, but less than three years ago, modest Sochaux were drawing parallels with FC Barcelona. The comparisons were made in jest, but the association still complimented Francis Gillot’s Europa League qualifying side. Lacombe and Gillot had assembled such an attacking quatrain, that their clever interchange left most defences demoralised. Modibo Maiga and Brown Ideye, like […]

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Salim Arrache: Don’t call it a comeback, not quite yet


A decade ago, Le Racing Club de Strasbourg looked a proper Ligue 1 side. The Alsatians had a resident veteran in Mickael Pagis; a feared centre-half in Cedric Kante; a supernova who was well on his way to paving a remarkable career in Mamadou Niang; and, a fruitful academy that was producing highly valued prospects in Habib Bellaid, Kevin Gameiro […]

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