Monday, August 04, 2014

Nasri no longer in the blue for France - a complicated and wasted talent

Rumors are abound that Samir Nasri will soon announce his retirement from international football. No surprise. The current Manchester City midfielder has had a love - hate relationship with the French national team. Really more of a hate and tempestuous
The Lost Boys
relationship. Nasri is part of the French class of '87 - a collection of players born in 1987 who won the U-17 Euros for France. This class included the likes of Benzema, Ben Arfa, Menez and Matuidi (Matuidi did not make the U17 squad, but is part of the 1987 generation) in addition to Nasri.  Not a bad collection of talent. But Nasri is a perfect example for this generation - world class talent, but failure to live up to lofty expectations.

Nasri first broke onto the senior international scene when Domenech in March of 2007 against Austria. He was a key catalyst to get France qualified for the Euros in 2008. He infused a new level of youth and offensive panache France needed with the retirement of Zidane. I remember him playing a vital role in a win over Ukraine. Nasri would then find his way to the Euros in 2008. One of the two Euro tournaments Nasri would play. And one of two tournaments where his off field antics would be far more memorable than what he did on the pitch. Most notably in 2008 was his apparent lack of respect paid to French veterans such as Henry and Gallas. The fact that Gallas would refuse to shake Nasri's hand in the Premiership speaks of the riff between the two. Granted, some of this childish behavior is not one sided. Nasri would miss the 2010 World Cup - something that was probably to his benefit, then again he would have fit right in with that dysfunctional squad. Laurent Blanc would call up the mercurial midfielder once he took over the reigns. Inserting him into the heart of his formation that would take on the 2012 Euros.

Once again Nasri was more remembered for his antics than his dribbles. Scoring the equalizer against his Manchester City team mate - Joe Hart - Nasri then went on a little
Ah Samir...at least you choose the correct finger
celebratory run and made a motion to the press corp to "shut the f*** up." This gave Blanc a "fun" challenge of spin control rather than focusing on the sporting side of the tournament. France would eventually crash out in the 1/4 finals to the eventual champion Spain.

Most recently Nasri was left off Deschamps' World Cup squad, which created a minor controversy. Mostly with former France captain Vieira as well as Nasri's girlfriend! But who can really blame Deschamps choice? Nasri was not a lock to be a starter in DD's 4-3-3 formation. Even had DD used a 4-2-3-1 formation, there was no guarantee that Nasri was a lock to start. This did not sit well with the Samir. And he made this very know to anyone that would listen. Of course he would qualify his outcries by stating "any player worth their salt would want to start." True. But any national side will invariable have club stars who are not starters. Alas, Nasri's ego would not allow him to play nice in the sandbox. But his play on the field didn't make him indispensable either. Such is the story of the '87 players. Le Petit Prince - Ben Arfa has always had bags of raw talent but cannot seem to put it all together consistently. Same for Menez and one might even argue Benzema who has not lived up to the flashes of brilliance he teases us with.

So Samir appears ready to ride off into the sunset. Merci for the 41 caps you won for your nation. But you only have yourself to blame for not being a mainstay for Les Bleus.


2 comments:

pierrot said...

for me, ben arfa had the most raw talent of that generation, and hence has been the biggest waste, both for country and his various clubs. massive disappointment, far more so than nasri or any of the others.

GFC said...

I would agree. Ben Arfa, on pure talent, was the one with the highest ceiling. But also the biggest head case out of all of them.

Such a waste.

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