Augsburg midfielder Rani Khedira has turned down an offer from the Tunisian Football Association to play for the national team.
Khedira, who was born in Stuttgart to a German mother and Tunisian father, insists “it is the right decision”.
#Khedira opens with a statement: “Last night I let the Tunisian FA know that I would turn down their offer of representing them in the #WorldCup. I’m proud that they considered me, but I was born in Germany and only speak German. That was the deciding factor.” #RBLFCA pic.twitter.com/HZaMzbwkmv
— FC Augsburg English (@FCA_World) February 7, 2018
As well as citing the language barrier – the 24-year-old would have to learn Tunisian Arabic – Khedira said selflessly: “I don’t think it’s fair I take the place of players who have worked their socks off for the last two years to reach the World Cup, either.”
Khedira represented Germany at youth level, but is yet to receive a senior international cap. In rejecting the Tunisian FA’s advances, he passes up the opportunity to play at this summer’s FIFA 2018 World Cup and, potentially, to face older brother Sami – a 72-time Germany international and 2014 World Cup winner.
“It was a long process,” former Stuttgart and RB Leipzig midfielder, Rani, explained. “My Dad is a proud Tunisian. I carry both countries in my heart and wish them both well. It’s the right decision, though.”