Lyon's Pape Cheikh Diop snubs Senegal national team in favour of Spain senior squad chance


Diop, 21, was born in Dakar and moved to Spain at 14 and helped them to European U19 success in 2015 as well as played for the U18's and U21s.

Despite admitting the Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) has tried to persuade him to play for the Teranga Lions - Diop made his intentions clear over his international future.

"I have been called by Senegal several times, but I remain committed to Spain," he told Marca.

"Of course, I can never forget my origin, I am Senegalese, but I also feel Spanish.

"Spain has given me everything and I want to give back in return. I am very happy with the decision I've made."

Lyon reportedly opted to sign the powerful midfielder over Bafana Bafana star Bongani Zungu, with his age being the contributing factor.

Since then, the €10m signing from Celta Vigo has impressed with the Ligue 1 giants and played a key role in their 2-1 UEFA Champions League victory over Manchester City last week.

Despite his meteoric rise to Europe's elite club competition, Pape Cheikh has not forgotten his humble beginnings at Solar FC back in Dakar.

"Solar FC was where it all started for me and I still have interesting memories," he recalled.

"Now I try to help out with everything I can: with clothes, kits, balls and whatever I can. The conditions are not easy down there and we have to help them."

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