A tribute to the birthday boy: Samir Ben-Said Nasri
There’s a Gunner that turned 24 today. He was born in the city of Marseille, a riviera in the South of France.
Like French footballing legends such as Zinedine Zidane and Youri Djourkaeff, Samir Nasri is a French player of Algerian descent. Nasri has earned caps with all of France’s youth teams for which he was eligible.
From 2003 to 2007, Nasri represented France in five junior levels before getting his promotion to the senior squad in March 2007. He made 16 appearances for France’s Under-16’s and scored eight goals for them. The Under-17 squad was the next in line to be graced by Nasri and he did well to earn 16 caps and score four goals. The Under-18 squad was up next but he earned a meager amount of just four caps for the team before earning 10 caps for the Under-19’s where he had a 50% goal to game ratio with five goals.
Nasri made only four appearances for the Under-21 squad before making his senior team breakthrough in 2007. Nasri’s first and only silverware in French colours came in the 2004 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship.
Nasri contributed to the team by scoring the equalizing goal against Portugal in the competition’s semi-finals. France went on to win the match 3–1 to earn a place in the final to face Spain. Nasri then put his name in the French history books by scoring the game-winning goal just a minute from time to give France its first-ever title in the competition.
Nasri earned his first ever French senior call-up on the 15th of March, 2007 in a Euro 2008 qualifying match against Lithuania and he has gone on to make 22 appearances for the national side in the space of four years. These stats show that Nasri hasn’t been a French regular but he has been getting a decent run of games under Laurent Blanc.
Nasri has scored two goals so far for Les Bleus. He scored his first international goal in a 1–0 Euro 2008 qualifying win over Georgia. His only other French goal so far came in a friendly encounter against Morocco.
Nasri’s services for France as well as Arsenal were enough to earn him the coveted French Footballer of the Year award in 2010.
Nasri’s French career hasn’t been too glittering but it certainly has its highlights.
Nasri was named to the 23-man squad to participate in UEFA Euro 2008 that took place in Austria and Switzerland. Nasri made his debut in the tournament on 9 June 2008 in the team’s opening group stage match against Romania appearing as a substitute. He did not appear in the team’s 4–1 loss to the Netherlands, but did appear in the team’s final group stage match against Italy. Nasri appeared as a substitute for the injured Franck Ribéry in the tenth minute. Raymond Domenech decided to be comical by taking Nasri out 10 minutes later when Abidal was brandished a red card.
In November 2008, Nasri was accused of being insolent during the team’s campaign at the European Championship. The accusation came from teammate William Gallas who inserted the charge in his autobiography. Though the accused was unnamed in the book, following its release, the player became widely identified as Nasri. This act amongst other things made Arsene Wenger to strip the captaincy off Gallas with Fabregas announced as the new captain.
Nasri also missed out of Domenech’s squad that boarded the plane to South Africa but it was a blessing in disguise because Nasri was very impressive in the post-World Cup campaign.
In club level, Nasri has played for only two teams. He made his debut for his hometown club in 2004 and stayed with the club for four years. In his time at Marseille, he made 121 league appearances and scored 11 goals.
The only trophy he won in his time at Marseille was the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2005. He was also honored the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year in 2007 and a place in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year in 2007.
He made a £12m move to Arsenal and came into the club as an ideal replacement for Aliaksandr Hleb. He scored on his Arsenal debut against West Brom and has gone on to score 18 league goals in 85 appearances in his three years at the club.
Nasri’s highlight of his first Arsenal season was the brace he scored against Manchester United in November. Man Utd went on to keep 15 clean sheets before it was broken by Roque Santa Cruz of Blackburn Rovers.
Nasri’s second season with Arsenal started on the wrong foot because he suffered a broken leg after a rough challenge by Abou Diaby in Arsenal’s preseason camp in Austria. He played his first match of the 2009/10 in October in the League Cup tie against Liverpool. The best goal of that game came from Fran Merida. Nasri’s highlight of his second season at Arsenal was his wonder goal in Arsenal’s 5-0 mauling of Porto.
That goal was nominated for FIFA’s inaugural Ferenc Puskas award for the goal of the Year. Cristiano Ronaldo’s inhuman 40-yard strike against Porto a season earlier convinced everyone to give him the award. Nasri ended his second season with 34 games played and five goals scored.
The 2010/11 season will definitely be regarded as Nasri’s breakthrough season. Nasri was the star of Arsenal’s preseason adventure with five goals in six appearances.
He opened his goal scoring account with a penalty brace when Arsenal visited Tottenham in the third round of the Carling Spoon. Nasri scored another brace three days later in Arsenal’s 3-2 defeat to West Brom. Nasri joined the party in October when Arsenal ran riot against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Emirates. He then scored Arsenal’s opener when they visited Manchester City in the 3-0 win.
Nasri scored his first November goal when Arsenal hosted Tottenham in that painful 3-2 reverse score line that saw Tottenham end their 68-match unbeaten streak against the Top Four. He scored a brilliant goal against Aston Villa from an Andrey Arshavin corner.
Nasri was on fire when Arsenal hosted Fulham with two breathtaking goals, then he scored another goal four days later when Arsenal sealed qualification in a 3-1 victory against Group H minnows Partizan Belgrade.
Nasri had scored 12 goals for Arsenal in 2010 which summed up to his total amount of goals scored in his two previous seasons with the club.
He scored two goals at the start of the new year against Birmingham and Leeds but his goal scoring well dried up till April 2011 when he scored against Tottenham in that thrilling 3-3 encounter.
Nasri ended the season with a career best of 15 goals but he also has one more year left on his contract so a new deal was imminent but Nasri has been stalling on putting pen to paper on the £90,000 per week offered because he said that he wanted pay parity with Arsenal’s captain, Cesc Fabregas.
Nasri has also been recognized for his services to Arsenal Football Club. He was inducted into the 2011 PFA Team of the Year and was the runner-up for the Player of the Year award that was won by the World’s best left-footed Chimpanzee, Gareth Bale.
As a player, Nasri is a technically gifted and intelligent player that has good dribbling skills, a good first touch, a nice passing range, sleek off the ball movement, great balance and amazing agility.
However, Nasri has certain flaws which include injury proneness, selfishness, below-par crossing ability, low concentration levels and a poor aerial ability.
We the gooners hope that Nasri would sign a new deal that will keep him at the club for all eternity.
Today is Samir Nasri’s birthday and his teammates have done well to send their birthday wishes.
“@jack_wilshere: Happy birthday to my friend @Nanas08 have a good day and enjoy the rest of your holidays mate!”
“@cesc4official: Happy birthday to my good friend @Nanas08 , enjoy to the max man!!!!”
I’ve also sent him my birthday wish
“@goonerdaily: Happy Birthday @Nanas08 . Please sign your new contract”
The tweet of the day goes to the player himself,
“@Nanas08: I just want tell you. Don’t listen the newspaper and the rumours. I will let you know if something happen”
We are still waiting Sire
Samir Ben-Said Nasri.
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