Sports fans and betting aficionados are gearing up for what could be a bumper summer of action, kicking off with the highly anticipated Euro 2020, which has been pushed back 12 months. According to the expert tipsters and carefully collated odds at oddschecker, there are any number of teams that could claim the European Championship title in July. However, what often goes unsaid is just how many players of African descent will play a part in this summer’s footy showcase.
Here we take a good look at those stars of the beautiful game who have African blood running in their veins, but who have chosen to represent European nations on the international football stage.
N’Golo Kanté – France via Mali
Although N’Golo Kanté was born in Paris, his roots are firmly planted in Mali. He’s even named after a famous chief from the now defunct region of Bamana Empire.
For a long time, Kanté was something of a forgotten player, plying his trade in France for the unheralded teams of Boulogne and Caen before he was eventually picked up by Leicester, where he shone bright in the Premier League winning campaign of 2015/16. This enabled him to get a big transfer to Chelsea, where he still plays to this day.
When he is not helping the Blues reach Champions League finals, Kanté can also be found lifting World Cups with the French national side. His tireless pressing, relentless engine, and calm ability to pass the ball under pressure means he is now considered one of the best midfielders on the planet. With the French being firm favorites to go all the way at Euro 2020, there is no doubt that Kanté will play a significant part in any deep tournament run made by Les Bleus.
INSERT IMAGE HERE >>>> https://p2.piqsels.com/preview/249/374/336/iphone-apple-football.jpg >>>> Photo
Caption: Mobile phones and television screens across the African continent will be buzzing with all the action coming from stadiums around Europe
Romelu Lukaku – Belgium via Congo
Romelu Lukaku has always represented his native Belgium, but his ancestors hailed from the Congo. After a lukewarm period at Manchester United and average performances for the Belgian national team, it appeared as though Lukaku’s career as an elite level striker might fizzle out.
However, Antonio Conte threw the powerful front man a lifeline at Inter Milan, where he quickly won over teammates and supporters by banging in goals from all over the pitch.
Having helped Inter wrest control of Serie A back from Juventus, outshining Ronaldo and Ibrahimović in the process, Lukaku is now considered one of the most feared goal scorers on the planet. He is also as adept at providing assists as he is at netting goals himself.
Despite having a plethora of talent at their disposal, the Belgian national team have repeatedly fallen flat at major championships, which means there is less expectation on them this summer. If the squad can heal rifts between key players, such as the one that exists between Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois, then maybe they can unite behind Lukaku and finally get their hands on some silverware.
Ansu Fati – Spain via Guinea-Bissau
He is the young star striker who is being touted as not only the future of Barcelona FC, but also the Spanish national team. However, at the tender age of just 18 he is already fighting for his professional career, as a knee injury threatens to derail his progress. This is particularly heart-breaking with it being so difficult for young players to break through into top-flight first teams these days.
Although it’s currently unclear whether Fati will recover in time to feature for Spain this summer, he is included in this list because sooner or later this player from Guinea-Bissau will make a major impact for La Roja. Luis Enrique will be hoping that such an impact arrives this summer, but it seems unlikely, which is a shame for fans of the sport.
David Alaba – Austria via Nigeria
David Alaba is part Nigerian and part Filipino, and also happens to be the best player that the country of Austria has ever produced.
Having won everything there is to win in German football, most observers believe Alaba is bound for Real Madrid this summer, where he will patch together a defense that could be missing an unsettled Sergio Ramos.
Before he begins that unenviable task, Alaba will be 100% focused on trying to get his Austrian national team out of Euro 2020’s Group C, where only The Netherlands will really strike fear into the hearts of Franco Foda’s men. However, Austria have a torrid record at European Championships, having never ventured beyond the group stages. They may never get a better chance to make it further, with the likes of Ukraine and North Macedonia making up the rest of a relatively weak Group C.
Antonio Rüdiger – Germany via Sierra Leone
Making yourself an integral part of the German national team machine is a feat that few players of African origin have ever managed to do, but this long serving Chelsea center-back has managed it.
His side have been drawn in the dreaded so-called “Group of Death” this summer, alongside Portugal and France in Group F. If Rüdiger can help the Germans keep clean sheets against the likes of Kylian Mbappé and Cristiano Ronaldo, then his stock will only continue to rise.
Memphis Depay – Netherlands via Ghana
Much like Romelu Lukaku, Memphis Depay suffered from the downturn in fortunes at Old Trafford during the previous decade and has since had to rebuild at Lille in Ligue 1. However, his progress while playing in the French topflight has been impressive, with even Barcelona reportedly considering a move for the 27-year-old this summer.
The striker will be out to give them the Netherlands a nudge with some special Euro 2020 performances, which he should get ample opportunity to make against Austria, North Macedonia, and Ukraine in Group C.
Although he was raised in the Netherlands, Depay is of Ghanaian descent.