German-born Augsburg midfielder Rani Khedira has turned down an offer from the Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) to represent the country at the 2018 Fifa World Cup.
The 24-year-old, born to a German mother and a Tunisian father, played for Germany at youth level from 2009 to 2013, but is yet to receive a senior international cap.
Rani is the brother of World Cup winner and Juventus central midfielder Sami Khedira.
#Khedira opens with a statement: "Last night I let the Tunisian FA know that I would turn down their offer of representing them in the #WorldCup. I'm proud that they considered me, but I was born in Germany and only speak German. That was the deciding factor." #RBLFCA pic.twitter.com/HZaMzbwkmv— FC Augsburg English (@FCA_World) 7 February 2018
Born and raised in Germany
After being approached by the FTF, Khedira opted to follow in the footsteps of his older brother and commit his future to Germany.
"I was born and raised in Germany, I only speak German, that was crucial," the midfielder declared in an interview with Kicker.
"My game is about communication, instructions and tactics, time is too short, it's too difficult, I cannot help the team with my best performance.
"It has been a long process with my environment, my dad is a proud Tunisian, I carry both countries in my heart and wish them the best, but in the end it was the right decision."
Khedira: Taking another player's spot wouldn't have been fair
Rani added that occupying a place in the Tunisia national side would be unfair on other players.
"They have worked their socks off in the past two years," he said. "I do not want to take the place of any of them."
Earlier this week, the FTF ended Ivory Coast-born Fousseny Coulibaly’s naturalisation bid to represent Tunisia at the World Cup.