Monday Jun 21, 2021. 15:00
Manchester United starlet Amad Diallo has explained why he opted to represent the Ivory Coast at international level rather than Italy.
The 18-year-old winger, who completed a move from Atalanta to United this past season, made his Ivory Coast debut back in March in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Niger, and recently made headlines with a stunning free-kick goal in a 2-1 win over Burkina Faso in a friendly.
The Abidjan-born Diallo was eligible to play for Italy due to having emigrated to the European country at a young age, but he opted for the Elephants out of loyalty for his country of birth.
“Because you grow up in your own country before you grow up in another,” he told an Instagram Q&A, as quoted by the Daily Star.
Diallo picked out Chelsea hero Didier Drogba as his favourite Ivory Coast legend and said it was an “incredible feeling” to play alongside Bruno Fernandes at Old Trafford.
He also identified Paul Pogba as one of his biggest reasons for joining United: “I met him when I was a kid at that trial at Juventus. After the session, they asked me who I would like to have a photo with and I asked for Paul. He was my idol.
“Then, when I received the bid from United and I realised that Paul was here, I didn’t have to think twice and I wanted to come here straight away.
“To be playing with him five years later is incredible. I could not possibly ever imagine it happening. But these things happen once in a lifetime and, when such occasions come along, you have to seize them.
“To play with Paul five years later is unbelievable, and hard to describe, really.”