Atletico Madrid starlet called up by Algeria as Spain losing national team battle

With more and more children coming from families of African parents who have emigrated to Spain, increasingly La Roja are having to battle for the best talents coming through the system.

After the likes of Bojan Krkic, who could have played for Serbia, was capped early, similar cases have played out with Munir El Haddadi, Ez Abde and most recently Lamine Yamal, although the former two ended up playing for Morocco.

It’s a battle between national federations that has become increasingly common, and the latest involved is Rayane Belaid. The 18-year-old Atletico Madrid midfielder is in the Spain under-19 preliminary list, but Algeria’s under-20 side have called him up already, as per Relevo.

An offensive midfielder with incisive passing, Belaid recently scored for Atletico’s under-19s against Celtic in a 2-1 win in the UEFA Youth League, and played a crucial role in a fiery Madrid under-19 derby, with Fernando Torres calling the shots from the touchline.

Belaid appears to be closer to representing Algeria than La Roja though. Ultimately, until he is called up to a senior side to play competitive matches, the arms race will still be on. Yet with so much competition for places in Spain’s midfield, Algeria will no doubt like their chances of persuading Belaid early on that he should represent them.

Tags Algeria Atletico Madrid Rayane Belaid Spain La Roja
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