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Laporte blasts criticism of Spain call-up, in good shape after year in Saudi Arabia


DONAUESCHINGEN, Germany (AP) — Spain defender Aymeric Laporte has hit out at those criticizing his selection for the European Championship because he plays his club soccer in Saudi Arabia.

Laporte left English champion Manchester City in the offseason of 2023 to join Al-Nassr, where Cristiano Ronaldo also plays.

Some critics said playing in the Saudi league didn’t leave him at the right level to play for Spain at Euro 2024, but Laporte had a strong first appearance at the tournament in the 1-0 win over Italy on Thursday.

“A lot has been said,” Laporte said at a news conference Saturday. “There was not enough information to generate so many opinions about my shape.

“But the misinformation is something common and there has been much more news than there should have. But I’m OK. When I was told I was coming, I prepared on my own and I came here absolutely ready.”

Laporte said the criticism “really got under my skin.”

“But one day I was lying in bed and I thought, 'Am I really doing it so bad to get this much criticism?'” he said. “And then I thought about it in cold blood and concluded I was doing everything in my power to be in the national team, to compete at the highest level, to achieve as much as we can with Spain.”

Laporte was quoted in January as saying some players brought over to the Saudi league were unhappy there.


AP Euro 2024: