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‘I was born in Togo and will die as an African’ – Adebayor reveals why he rejected France call-up

11:47 AM WAT 11/01/2022
HD Emmanuel Adebayor Togo
The 37-year-old former Gunner explains his decision to turn down Les Bleus and play for the Sparrowhawks in his international career

Former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor has revealed why he opted against playing for France and instead picked Togo.

The 37-year-old retired player, who also turned out for Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, has admitted he had an option to represent France at junior level, but he turned down the offer.

“I had made my choice a long time ago because since I was playing for U15, I don’t have a choice," the 37-year-old told 3Sports as quoted by Headtopics.

“Why did they give me a choice to play for France or Togo, I told them to forget it, it’s never going to happen. I can’t see myself playing for a national team of France.

“I’d have to go back home. I’m from Togo and I was born in Togo. So for me, I will die as an African so telling them those things but they have to decide what they want.”

Adebayor has also given his comparison of the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup.

“People will tell them don’t go it’s a [expletive] tournament. How do you see it? I see it just like a World Cup,” Adebayor, who also played for Spanish giants Real Madrid, continued.

“That’s why I always said I want to beat the record in Togo, which I have done. I played five Africa Cup of nations. Only two or three to do that, so for me, that’s what made me happy.

“So I think my brothers will have to decide and tell them this is not a game.

“I am going back home, this is about the motherland and there is nothing better than motherland. At that point, they have to stick on that and say it loud and clear.”

Born in Lome to parents of Yoruba ethnicity, Adebayor spent most of his youth in Togo, where he attended the Sports Development Centre of Lome and was spotted by scouts from Metz, who brought him to France in 1999.

He made his Ligue 1 debut against Sochaux in November 2001, but after Metz’s relegation from the top-flight, he played a season in Ligue 2, where he scored 13 goals in 34 matches, prompting a summer 2003 move to Monaco.

On January 13, 2006, Premier League club Arsenal signed Adebayor for a reported £3 million and he made his debut in a Premier League match at Birmingham City and scored after 21 minutes, with Arsenal winning 2-0.

He then played for Manchester City before he was loaned out Real Madrid and then another loan move to Spurs on August 25, 2011. He also played for Crystal Palace, as well as Turkish clubs Istanbul Basaksehir and Kayserispor, and Paraguay's Olimpia Asuncion.

Adebayor, who was voted African Footballer of the Year for 2008 while playing at Arsenal, was part of the Togo team that featured at the 2006 World Cup and also at the 2013 Afcon in South Africa, where he helped the Sparrowhawks to qualify for the quarter-finals.

He is currently Togo's all-time top goalscorer with 32 goals from 85 appearances.