Goalkeeper Areola in a diverse French team | Inquirer Sports
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Goalkeeper Areola in a diverse French team

/ 05:15 AM July 19, 2018

With 16 of the 23 players on its team coming from immigrant families, world champion France had one of the most diverse and multiethnic rosters in the recent World Cup.

Alphonse Areola, born in Paris of full-blooded Filipino parents, was one of three goalkeepers on the French team that defeated Croatia, 4-2, for its second title in 20 years.

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Although overshadowed by team captain and goalie Hugo Lloris, who traces his roots to Spain, The 25-year-old Areola is the first Pinoy to lift the World Cup trophy, earning a flurry of tweets and social media posts from proud compatriots.

While overlooking Areola’s Philippine origins, the Los Angeles Times said last week parents of the French players came “from places like Zaire, Cameroon, Morocco, Angelo, Congo or Algeria.”

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“For people who see immigration as a danger, this World Cup story won’t resolve that,” said the Times. “But it allows us to take stock of the reality of the world, of mobility, movements, multiple identities.”

“The four most successful teams in this World Cup—semifinalists England, Belgium, Croatia and (eventual champion) France—all have multinational national teams,” according to the Times, while noting that the 32-team tournament was “the most diverse in history.”

His performance panned harshly as “bayaran” (bought) by critics after he knocked out Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur last Sunday, Manny Pacquiao has moved on, saying he is not done yet.

The newly crowned WBA welterweight champion has indicated that he is good for two or three more bouts before hanging his gloves.

Despite advice from President Duterte, his staunch ally, to retire and enjoy his money, the sitting senator still appears to be lobbying for his financial self-interest.

Pacquiao proclaimed that he is targeting one of his last bouts to be a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

A second Money-Manny match could be considered another circus, after the much-maligned “Fight of the Century” that earned both fighters millions. But its intrigue trumps the trash talk and remains a lucrative possibility.

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The 39-year-old Pacquiao’s victory over Matthysse, who is four years his junior, has been cheered by countless fans as a cultural and career defibrillator.

To them, the Pacman remains the “pambansang kamao” (national fist), with doubters who cropped up after he lost his WBO welterweight title to Australian Jeff Horn last year renewing their faith.

A 12-month absence from the ring notwithstanding, Pacquiao, with ageless vigor, made short work of the dangerous Argentine, and looked like the speedy and ruthless fighter that won an unsurpassed eight world boxing divisions.

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TAGS: Alphonse Areola, Football, France, goalkeeper, World Cup
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