Aymeric Laporte has all reasons to smile after he was approved to play for Spain instead of France at Euro 2020 this summer.
Reliable sources at the Spanish football federation (RFEF) confirmed this on Tuesday.
Aymeric Laporte who was born in Agen France was granted the Spanish Nationality by the Spanish Council of Ministers. Laporte has never played for the French senior team, despite three call-ups to the squad between 2016 and 2020.
Laporte spent eight years with Athletic Bilbao between 2010 and 2018 before leaving to join Manchester City in England.
The Spanish Ministry for Sport told AFP on Tuesday the process had been initiated by the RFEF and was being “finalized”, with the knowledge and consent of the player.
It means Laporte could play for Spain at Euro 2020 this summer, potentially alongside Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.
The 26-year-old would be a valuable addition to the Spanish squad, particularly given central defense has been a problem area for coach Luis Enrique.
The report says that Enrique requested the possibility of Laporte being able to represent Spain, who have been European champions three times, a week ago.
It adds that both the player and FIFA have given their approval for the Centre-back to play for Spain this summer but a final procedure with the latter is still awaiting completion.
It’s understood Laporte has been on the Spaniard’s radar since August 2016 when Julen Lopetegui had taken charge.
Gerard Pique retired in 2018 and the spot next to Ramos has been filled by a number of players, including Villarreal’s Pau Torres, Real Sociedad’s Inigo Martinez and Eric Garcia of English Club Manchester City.
Aymeric Laporte has not been a regular player at the Etihad, having started so well ever since he joined the Club, Laporte suffered a knee injury in 2019 which gave him a difficult time unde Pep Guardiola.
France coach Didier Deschamps has a wealth of options at centre-back, with Raphael Varane, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Clement Lenglet and Kurt Zouma among those picked ahead of Laporte in recent months.
Meanwhile Arjen Robben has insisted of his desires to play this year’s EURO 2020 if he is selected by Frank de Boer’s to join his squad for this summer’s European Championships.
The former PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich playmaker quit football in 2019 but re-joined Eredivisie club FC Groningen in 2020, the side with which he started his playing career.
Robben who is 37 years of age, has missed the majority of this season with an injury but made his first start for seven months against FC Emmen on Sunday, and made two assists in the 4-0 win.
The 2010 World Cup finalist retired from playing for the Netherlands in 2017 after winning 96 caps and scoring 37 goals for his country.
But Robben says he would not turn down an opportunity to feature at the Euros despite acknowledging that he is realistic about his chances of being selected by De Boer.