Spain reacts to Brahim Diaz’s decision to represent Morocco

Spain reacts to Brahim Diaz’s decision to represent Morocco

The head coach of the Spanish national team, Luis de la Fuente, has backed Brahim Diaz’s decision to play for Morocco rather than La Roja ahead of the 2024 UEFA European Championships slated for Germany later this summer.

Diaz, who was born in Malaga to a Spanish mother and a Moroccan father, is eligible to play for Morocco through his father’s nationality, despite representing Spain through the youth ranks at the Under-17, U-19, and U-21 levels.

Although he made his senior international debut for Spain in a 4–0 friendly against Lithuania in June 2021, the Real Madrid midfielder pledged his allegiance to represent the Atlas Lions in October 2023, and Spain’s coach de la Fuente is unperturbed by the 24-year-old’s decision, as he says he is “free to make his own choices, and I absolutely respect that.”

“No, I haven’t spoken to him,” the 62-year-old coach said. “I make the list and the players either are on it or they aren´t. And then they make their own decisions.

“I don´t want to keep talking about Brahim but he’s been with me multiple times, I think I´m the coach who´s selected him the most: U-19, U-21 and National Team. I appreciate him, I value him and I wish him the best. He’s free to make his own choices and I absolutely respect that.”

de la Fuente also added that the players he calls up to the national team must all be appreciative of the opportunity, as it is extremely difficult to get into the selection.

He said: “There are three conditions to be a national team player: first, he must be able to play, he must be eligible; second, he must want to be selected; third, the coach must select him. But the most important one is to want to be selected. No demands, no conditions, with the same rights and obligations as the rest of the team.”

“The players must appreciate being in the national team, they must be proud of it, especially knowing how hard it is to be here and how many great players are left out every time.”

Since his switch, Diaz has yet to represent Morocco, and he was not part of the squad that represented the 2022 World Cup semifinalist at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year as he was left out due to a “pre-established agreement.”.

The former AC Milan man has enjoyed some success with Real Madrid this season, with eight goals and four assists in 32 matches across all competitions, including three goal contributions in five UEFA Champions League outings.

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