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AFCON Stars Who Snubbed Europe

During the 2016 UEFA European Championship we looked at players Africa lost to European nations. This time around, we feature stars at AFCON 2017 who snubbed playing for the European country they were born in.

Click through the gallery to see some AFCON 2017 stars who were born outside of Africa.

Africa's reigning Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez is the perfect example. The 25-year-old Leicester City star was born in Sarcelles, France, but represents Algeria.

Mahrez, the son of an Algerian father and a mother of Algerian and Moroccan descent, grew up in France but regularly visited Algeria on holiday.

He came through the lower leagues of French football before featuring for Le Havre in Ligue 2 and subsequently moving to Leicester, where he turned into a superstar during their surprising title-winning campaign.

He made his debut for the Desert Foxes in May 2014, at a time when he was still widely unknown, and has represented his country 27 times since, scoring eight goals.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mahrez's predecessor for Africa's biggest individual award, has followed a similar career path.

The Borussia Dortmund striker was born in Laval, France, and even represented the European nation at youth level before opting to represent Gabon, his father's country of birth.

Yacine Brahimi and Andre Ayew are other Africa Cup of Nations stars who snubbed the opportunity to represent their European birth countries, and you can find more in the attached gallery.

Gallery: 2017 AFCON Kits Revealed

Note: The gallery does not include all AFCON stars who were born in Europe, but 12 of the bigger names.  

Why do you think so many AFCON stars prefer to represent Africa rather than Europe? Have your say in the comments section below.

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