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Nasri vows to ditch bad-boy image

ESPN staff
May 29, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Samir Nasri entered a running feud with the French press during Euro 2012 © Getty Images
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Samir Nasri has vowed to be "beyond reproach" with the French national team on their upcoming tour of South America as he bids to rid himself of his reputation as a troublemaker.

Nasri, 25, was recalled to Les Bleus' squad earlier this month for the first time since Euro 2012, which had ended with him involved in a violent, obscenity-filled, verbal altercation with a journalist following his country's quarter-final defeat to Spain.

Though he was only banned for three international games by the French Football Federation (FFF), the Manchester City midfielder was conspicuous by his absence before Didier Deschamps decided to bring him back onto the international scene so he could "see [Nasri] in the squad" and form his own opinion of the player. Nasri told RTL he will be on his best behaviour as France prepare to face Uruguay and Brazil on June 5 and 9 respectively.

"I want to show who I am, bring my qualities to the team, show that I'm not what people say I am: the little w***** who wreaks havoc in the squad. That's a load of rubbish. I was never that at Arsenal, nor was I at Marseille, and not at City either. It's a reputation which follows me, which sticks to me like glue with the French national team. It's up to me to get rid of it and be beyond reproach."

That has certainly been far from the case in recent times with the national team. Prior to insulting an AFP journalist in the mixed zone after the last-eight exit in Ukraine, Nasri was seen mouthing 'Ferme ta gueule!' (Shut your gob!') to the press box after scoring the equaliser against England in France's opening group-stage encounter.

The incidents merely served to darken his already sombre reputation among his compatriots, and Nasri now acknowledges he made a mistake in staying silent as the controversy raged.

"It made me grow, made me mature," he added. "I regret certain things. I above all regret having waited seven or eight months to apologise. That's really what I regret, I should have spoken out sooner."

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