Tottenham defender and Cameroon international Benoit Assou-Ekotto has spoken of the difficulties involved in representing an African nation.
The 28-year-old was born in Arras, France but elected to turn out for Cameroon - his father's homeland - at international level.
Though the fullback described playing for the les Lions as "very cool", he did admit that representing France would have been the easier option.
"When you go to Cameroon, football is almost a religion," he told CNN. "I don't feel the pressure when I play. It's very cool to play there because it's a different atmosphere. It's not about where are you born, it's about for which team, because if you born in France, you have the possibility to play in France.
"So your value can be here, when you make a choice and play for an African team, the football will be more difficult for you because after you have the Africa Cup Nation and there's not a club, they want their footballers to travel out in the middle of the season as well."
Assou-Ekotto went on to reveal the hardships he faced in becoming a professional footballer, but hailed the privilege of turning out for Spurs on a weekly basis.
"It's hard to become a footballer," he continued. "I wake up at eight and I go to work, but many people say 'no, you enjoy you're job', but I don't think they understand that I had to leave my parents at 13 or 14 [to become a professional].
"[But] my life is very cool. So I really enjoy this job and my career in Tottenham. You know, like I said, it's a very, very, very good job because you play almost every weekend and you make happy 40,000 people who come see you play and sometime."
The former Lens left back also underlined the importance of his charity work with the BA32 foundation, insisting it takes precedence over his career.
"I'd prefer to be remembered for what I will do after football," he said. "Every weekend I make 40,000 people happy with me and my team, but I hope to make more than 40,000 people happy after football.
"We must remember to help other people not just footballers, because I am not just a footballer."
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