Nasri’s petulance may cast him into the international wilderness
Before the start of Euro 2012, Samir Nasri appeared to be on a charm offensive.
His public image in France was at a low ebb following his inconsistencies for the national team and continual disapproval at how his transfer from Arsenal to Manchester City appeared to be about money, rather than the development of his career.
In one interview with Sport Style he claimed his motto in life was: “Treat others as you would like to be treated,” while also insisting: “Being a gentleman is something innate... I think it’s good to be gallant, to pay attention to others.”
In a second piece with France Foot he said: “I’ve matured, I’m now a champion in England and can handle pressure situations.”
Clearly media scrutiny is Nasri’s breaking point as his spiteful and ultimately unnecessary rant at a French journalist in the aftermath of their defeat to Spain has cast serious doubt over his long-term future for Les Bleus.
Always regarded as an enfant terrible, Nasri has grown in age but contrary to his own warped opinion, hasn’t matured one iota.
The French press have always kept a close eye on his career, as alongside Karim Benzema, he represented the new generation of French talent to replace nostalgic memories of Zinedine Zidane.
From his early teens Nasri has, perhaps unfairly, due to his Algerian heritage, been dubbed ‘The new Zidane.’ Consequently every aspect of his career and each performance have been heavily scrutinised.
He’s not the first to carry such a burden of expectation, speak to any Argentine wearing a No10 shirt since Diego Maradona’s retirement, but the attention has created an arrogance he cannot shake.
There is no denying he’s developed into a fine player, although City fans are still waiting for the Arsenal-era Nasri to emerge, but at 24 he is no longer a bright young thing.
With 35 caps, there are only six players more experienced than him in the current squad. And of them, Patrice Evra, Florent Malouda and Alou Diarra have probably played their final tournament.
However Nasri, who should be emerging as a leader for his country, still subconsciously wants to be the spoilt brat of the set-up.
Raymond Domenech left both he and Benzema out of the doomed World Cup campaign two years ago after he fell out with senior members of the squad at Euro 2008.
With Laurent Blanc looking to repair a fractured dressing room, reintroducing Nasri was a gamble but one that looked to have paid off as Les Bleus grew in stature through qualification.
But after scoring against England in their opener, one of his best performances for France, he celebrated by putting his finger across his lips and directing it towards the media. ‘Hush’ was the message, Samir has arrived.
Unable to see beyond his own self-worth, the gesture superseded a solid performance by his team-mates and since that game Nasri’s performances have gone backwards.
And with uncertainty over Blanc, who’s shown Nasri tremendous loyalty and faith, over whether he’ll continue with the national team, Nasri faces an equally encertain international future. Will he even care?