Friday, March 24, 2023

The ‘market’ of the selection, beyond Chimy: nationalize Le Normand and convince Bajcetic

It is an assumed reality that soccer teams are multicultural constructions. Diversity has been the formula for success for years in winning national teams such as France (in the World Cup in Qatar there were almost 140 native players) and it will also be in Spain, which is carrying out its own transfer market. Within this logic, the team led by Luis de la Fuente explores two paths: the nationalized, like the ‘Chimy’ Ávila (Osasuna), to which could be added Robin LeNormand (Real society); and those born in Spain as Stefan Bajcetic (Liverpool), but who are eligible by various countries due to their family background.

These are two challenges that the national team must deal with, which inaugurates a new era at the controls of the La Rioja coach on March 25, against Norway (20:45), in the qualifying phase for Euro 2024. The second round, just three days later, against Scotland (at the same time). Luis de la Fuente’s first call-up is being looked at with a magnifying glass and has been generating expectation for weeks. It was first known that Sergio Ramos will not wear the Spanish shirt again and a few days ago THE SPANISH NEWSPAPER confirmed that the Argentine Ezequiel ‘Chimy’ Ávila was on the squad list.

Nature letter

De la Fuente appreciates the goalscoring ability of the Osasuna attacker, even more so because the team has suffered from a lack of goals in recent times. So far this season, he has eight goals and two assists. “I have Argentine blood, but many times my head thinks what I’m doing wrong or what’s going on, because I don’t have opportunities. I have the documents to be able to represent Spain, so if they call me, I would say yes, I don’t doubt it“, he assured in March 2022 in an interview on TNT Sports Argentina, with Luis Enrique in charge.

Chimy Ávila arrived in Spain in 2017 and only injuries stopped a meteoric career. He never made his debut with the ‘albiceleste’, not even in the lower categories. Nor is Robin Le Normand, the French central defender of Real Sociedad who has requested dual nationality to be able to be called up with Spain.. To carry out this process, as a general rule, a continuous legal residence of ten years must be presented. The period is reduced to two years in the cases of citizens of Latin America, Portugal, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea or Sephardim. The Osasunista striker is included in this assumption.

It must be remembered that in the case of marriage, the established period of residence in Spain is reduced to one year. Le Normand arrived in Spain in July 2016 to be part of the Real Sociedad academy, so he would still have three years left to get nationalization through the normal channel. The French could shorten the period with the naturalization by letter of nature. To do this, the Higher Sports Council must consider that it will be an important asset for Spanish sport. Therefore, the royalist defender could obtain the passport in months or days in a discretionary way by Royal Decree, as regulated by article 21 of the Civil Code.


It is the way that was used to the express naturalization of the American Lorenzo Brown. The Council of Ministers approved the process so that Sergio Scariolo could count on him in the Eurobasket, which was awarded to the Spanish team with a relevant role as the point guard. In the case of Le Normand, there is a story of ‘heartbreak’ with the French team led by Didier Deschamps. One of the leaders of Imanol Bailiff’s squad -despite his 26 years- said in 2021 in an interview with Cadena Ser: “I only want to play with France. Spain? My family kills me, but it doesn’t matter if it’s Spain or Germany. I only want to go with France”.

But the wish has never come true, so the Federation has made a move to get an important French asset, as happened with Aymeric Laporte, who was nationalized in May 2021. His validation reached ten days after the list of Luis Enrique for the Eurocopa and has been helpful for the development of a conscious selection of the muscle that these movements give you. It does so after losing several future figures along the way who have opted for other teams.

The big goal is Stefan Bajcetic Maquieira, one of the sensations of the Premier. The barely 18-year-old midfielder was born in Vigo in 2004, where his father, Srdjan, a Celta player between 1994 and 1997, settled. His mother, Patricia, is Galician. Liverpool recruited him when he was 16 and since then his progression has been unstoppable. If the decision fell exclusively on the father figure, Stefan would play with Stojkovic’s Serbia, a friend of Srdjan.

dad or mom

Bajcetic has already been summoned by the sub-18 team led by Pablo Amo, who after the recent remodeling has become Luis de la Fuente’s first assistant. The objective of the RFEF is to include the midfielder in one of the next calls, even skipping the intermediate step of the sub-21, to ensure that Stefan is a Spanish international. Another successful case for the interests of the national team is that of Ismael Gharbi Álvarez, PSG midfielder born in Paris, but that he changed the Bleus for Spain, the country of his mother.

Gharbi was at the base of the French Federation. However, the football practiced by the PSG youth squad is better suited to the philosophy of La Roja, an argument with which they want to convince players like Bajcetic himself. In Las Rozas they are clear that they want to avoid cases like that of Álvaro Rodríguez, Real Madrid youth squad born in Palamós who has opted for Uruguay, the country of his father, ‘Coquito’ Rodríguez.

Manchester United player Alejandro Garnacho, from Madrid by birth, and another of the young values ​​of the Premier, made it clear that he would play for Argentina, his mother’s team, despite having played in the youth ranks of his father’s country. Last week, Lionel Scaloni included him in the call-up for the world champion to play two friendlies with the absolute albiceleste.

is following the same path Nico Paz, Factory player born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife which is part of the plans for the base in Argentina, where his father, Pablo Paz, a former CD Tenerife player, was born. The transfer market for the national team is open and it is not only key to give first, but to consolidate the path of young footballers and others not so much who are tempted with the passport or with the feeling, to prevent other national teams from strengthening themselves.


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