The Queen's Park Rangers midfielder Adel Taarabt wants to play for Morocco in the African Cup of Nations next month despite manager Harry Redknapp's plea for him to help the Premier League club fight against relegation.
QPR lie second bottom, five points from safety, and Redknapp, who replaced Mark Hughes last month, wants the club's player of the season in 2010-11 to miss the tournament, which runs from 19 January to 10 February.
"He [Redknapp] came to see me to ask me not to go but I told him: 'If they call me, I can't refuse, boss,'" Taarabt said. "I love my country, I love the Moroccan people and football means a lot to them. I warned him the only solution was if the coach doesn't call me up."
Taarabt has been out of favour with Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi in recent months but scored twice to help QPR register their first league win of the season last weekend. "I miss it. I love my country, I can't refuse to go," he said.
Rangers, who are also likely to be without Mali's Samba Diakité, are not the only top-flight club set to lose crucial players next month. Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel will probably be called up for Nigeria, while Tottenham Hotspur's chances of keeping Emmanuel Adebayor at the club next month were reduced yesterday when the Togo manager, Didier Six, pledged to do everything he can to persuade the forward to represent his homeland at the tournament in South Africa.
The 28-year-old recently put his international career on hold after a dispute with the Togolese federation over match bonuses. But Six said: "I am doing everything I can to get him to come back to us."
African absentees: Who will go to African Cup of Nations?
Arsenal Gervinho (Ivory Coast), Marouane Chamakh (Morocco)
Aston Villa Karim El Ahmadi (Morocco)
Chelsea John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses (both Nigeria)
Fulham Mohamadou Diarra (Mali)
Liverpool Oussama Assaidi (Morocco)
Manchester City Kolo Touré, Yaya Touré (both Ivory Coast)
Newcastle Cheik Tioté (Ivory Coast)
Queen's Park Rangers Samba Diakité (Mali), Adel Taarabt (Morocco)
Southampton Emmanuel Mayuka (Zambia)
West Bromwich Albion Youssuf Mulumbu (Congo), Peter Odemwingie (Nigeria)
West Ham Guy Demel (Ivory Coast), Modibo Maiga (Mali)
Wigan Arouna Koné (Ivory Coast)
* The tournament takes place in South Africa from 19 January to 10 February.Reuse content