'Like my children': Mohamed Diomande takes counsel from Rangers over huge decision

The in-form Rangers midfielder is at the centre of an international tug of war between Ghana and Ivory Coast

Rangers midfielder Mohamed Diomande has talked over his international football conundrum with his manager Philippe Clement, with both Ghana and Ivory Coast keen for the 22-year-old to pledge allegiance to them.

Diomande has impressed at Ibrox since joining from Nordsjaelland in January on a loan deal with an obligation to buy. Capped once by the Ivorians at under-23 level, he was called-up by both the U-23s and the full Ghana national team last month, forcing him to make a decision on his international future. Diomande was born in the Yopougon, a suburb of the Ivorian capital Abidjan, but spent several years at the Ghanaian football academy Right to Dream. He ended up representing neither nation in March, however he hinted that his future lay with Ivory Coast.

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Taking to social media last week, Diomande wrote: “As a child passionate about football, my dream was to become a professional footballer and to defend the colours of my country wherever I go and play with the national team. Today I am really grateful with Allah for having achieved part of this dream; that of becoming a professional footballer, it remains the other part; that of joining the national team and also of making my parents proud. In addition, I am equally aware of the interest in my host country Ghana, where I have spent more than seven years of my life and training as a footballer. However, a lot has been said, but I am in direct contact with the manager concerned by my decision, and it is he who holds the real information about my choice. I would like to thank my club Rangers FC for their support, my family and also all my fans during this period.”

Mohamed Diomande has discussed his international football with club manager Philippe Clement.Mohamed Diomande has discussed his international football with club manager Philippe Clement.
Mohamed Diomande has discussed his international football with club manager Philippe Clement.

Diomande has already improved under Clement and the Belgian head coach revealed that Diomande had approached him for counsel over a big decision for the young African. “I’m not giving advice on the choice but of course I’ve talked with him,” said Clement. “They are all like my children. He came in himself to talk about it. It’s a difficult decision. I understand all the things that he explained and that’s between us also. It’s about him at the end to make a decision.

"The fact two countries want him shows his quality. Like we said in January when he came in, he’s still a young player but one with a really bright future. We will see what decision he’s going to make around the national team. Because it’s a decisive decision. Once you make it, it’s for life. It’s not an easy one – not when family and all of those things are involved.

“So he can take advice off 1,000 people but at the end he needs to make a decision for himself. But he has a little bit more time to think now. He has some time now to do it but he’s focused on Rangers now, that’s the most important thing.”

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