BUENOS AIRES: Former France international striker David Trezeguet was in the squad which lifted the 1998 World Cup and scored the winner at Euro 2000 for Les Bleus - but he feels Argentinian at heart, the veteran says.
“France gave me so much, but I've always been Argentinian at heart and I've always been very fond of its football and national team. But, of course, when I had to take them on I'd give my all for France,” Trezeguet, now 34 and playing for River Plate, told FIFA.com.
Trezeguet was born in France but has long had dual nationality and moved to Argentina with his family as a youngster, starting his career for CA Platense in the Argentinian league.
After a handful of games he moved to Monaco, where he won two French league titles. Trezeguet thereafter spent a successful decade at Juventus, winning a further two titles before a spell in Spain with Hercules and United Arab Emirates side Bani Yas.
Last year, he helped River one of Argentina's most successful clubs with 33 first division titles, to promotion.
Of his breakthrough at Monaco he said: “It was a unique experience for me over there. I joined a big club like Monaco and it was extraordinary for my growth as a player. That gave me the chance to break into the national squad, win the 1998 World Cup, the Euro in 2000, and make the leap to Italian football.”
Trezeguet said his friendship with fellow France 98 squadmate Thierry Henry was important in his early career.
“I've got a very strong friendship with Henry, because he helped me so much when I joined Monaco. The team was made up of players who were 28, 30 years old or above, and he was the only lad who was 19. And well, even though I didn't yet speak the language, he'd take me out places, keep me company and he helped me find out about and learn a lot of things.”
One thing he had to learn off the field was French.
“At the time the most difficult part of being in France was the language.
I've always been a very open person when it comes to adapting to new things and learning the language was vital for that. I found it tough, but I got there.”
Asked about his feelings towards Argentina's national side, Trezeguet told FIFA.com: “Even as an Argentinian, I've been very clear in my attitude towards France. I've always had a huge amount of respect toward a country that took me in and gave me so much.
Trezeguet never faced Argentina in a competitive international but did face the albiceleste in a 2007 friendly, which the South Americans won. “I'd have liked to play against them in a competitive game, but I didn't get the chance,” the striker mused.