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Trezeguet said no to Argentina

Saturday 26th January 2002

Juventus forward David Trezeguet has revealed he turned down the chance to play for France's World Cup rivals Argentina, the country where he was brought up.

Trezeguet spent his childhood in Argentina, moving from France when he was two years old. And he has intensified the rivalry between the World Cup favourites by admitting that for many years he considered himself to be an Argentinian.

"I went to Argentina in 1979 when I was two years old," he explained. "I don't remember anything from my first two years in France. My idols were more Maradona than Platini, but when I watched Formula 1, I was always rooting for Prost against Senna.

"Of course I was an Argentina supporter. The Argentina shirt has been very dear to me. When I touched the World Cup in 1998, it was the same trophy Maradona had touched in 1986. It was beautiful – but the blue shirt is dearer to me now," he added.

Trezeguet moved from Buenos Aires to Monaco aged 17, where he linked up with his current international team-mate Thierry Henry. And though he was soon selected to play in France's Under-18 squad, the transition was far from easy.

"It was very difficult for me. Before joining Monaco, I really wanted to go to France. Then, when things were getting tough for me, as a 17-year-old, I stayed on the bench at Monaco and I missed home."

For all his South American feelings, though, even when he was in Argentina he was singled out: "I was born in France, and that's why they called me 'the Frenchman' in Argentina. I was overjoyed with that, although I can't say I was feeling French at all.

"It's hard to explain, but I always had this little thing inside me that attracted me to France, although I couldn't go there. There was always something."

But before then, Trezeguet snubbed the chance to play for Argentina, World Cup winners in 1978 and 1986.

"I could have played for Argentina Under-17s during the Youth World Cup in Qatar in 1995. I know that coach Pekerman had asked for information about me.

"But not long later, Thierry Henry told me that French coach Gerard Houllier had asked him about me. I had a long talk with my dad, and we decided the best thing for me, as I was in France, was to play for France. And because of restrictions on foreign players, it was easier for me to make it as a French citizen."

And the prospect of a second round – or quarter-final – clash with his 'second nation' appeals to Trezeguet. "I have never played against Argentina. It's a game I would love to play in if I'm given the opportunity."

Trezeguet has rarely let France down when his has been given an opportunity. Indeed, his international scoring record – averaging a goal every 83 minutes – sees him third in the France all-time list behind the legendary Just Fontaine.
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