MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s French-born defender Aymeric Laporte said it was a “privilege” to be playing international football after making his debut in Friday’s 0-0 draw with Portugal.
The former Athletic Bilbao man was granted Spanish nationality last month and was eligible to play for his adopted nation having not made his senior debut for the France national team, despite making 24 appearance for various age group squads.
“It’s a privilege to be here with Spain,” he told television channel La 1.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted, but we fought well and worked hard.
“Everyone knows Portugal are great team with some top players. It’s a training game that serves us well for the future.
“It’s up to the boss whether I’ll play or not and who with, but I felt comfortable (alongside Pau Torres). Apart from in a couple of plays where we made silly mistakes they didn’t have much. In general we were comfortable.”
Laporte’s nationalisation was a bone of contention in both countries, with France coach Didier Deschamps accusing the Manchester City man of lying about a supposed conversation they had.
However, the centre back would not be drawn on the situation.
“The whole thing (being naturalised) is a really long story and I’d have to be here for an hour explaining it,” he said.
“But the important thing is that I’m here, and hopefully this will be the first cap of many.”
(Reporting by Joseph Walker, editing by Pritha Sarkar)