Aymeric Laporte has revealed that Spain were trying to get him to switch his international allegiance for years before he finally secured dual-nationality this year.
Laporte has been overlooked by France for years, with Didier Deschamps regularly picking alternative defenders for his squads in recent years despite the Manchester City defender’s consistently high-class performances.
As a result, Laporte completed a switch to Spain as a result of his family links to the Basque region, and he made his international debut ahead of Euro 2020 for his new national side.
The City man has started all three of Spain’s Euro 2020 games, scoring in their win over Slovakia, and has spoken of his journey from switching allegiances that was years in the making.
He told the Guardian : “They called me from the Federacion. The president told me about their interest. Straight after, Luis Enrique called. I took the decision. Then came my dual nationality.
“I’d been in contact with the Seleccion Espanola for years because they’ve always wanted me.
“Luis Enrique told me my playing style is his idea of football, that if I got nationality I might be in the squad.
“We talked and I told him that obviously it’s very important for me, for my projection. This is something I always wanted. To play at the highest level, at an international tournament is significant for any player.
“I said I was interested. There’s paperwork and all that [but] we found the formula.”
Laporte’s Spain face Croatia in the last-16 on Monday, while France face Switzerland later in the day. Should Spain and France both progress, that would set up a quarter-final between Laporte’s new national side and the country he represented at under-21 level before being passed over for a senior cap.