Barca winger rejects Ivory Coast

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Ballou Tabla, 19, was born in the Ivory Coast but moved to Montreal when he was eight years old and has represented Canada up to U20 level.

Despite close links to the country of his birth, as well as his friendship with Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba, whom he played alongside at Montreal Impact - the Barca teenager has decided to commit to The Canucks.

Canada head coach John Herdman confirmed that the player who was involved in the Blaugrana's pre-season will make his senior bow during the CONCACAF Nations League match against Dominica on October 16 in the nation's capital, Toronto.

"He's such a talented player, playing in an environment where he's developing every day and developing at the level that is going to help this country step up to the next level," Herdman told TSN.

"And he's improving. I think that's the exciting thing. He's getting more powerful. He has genuine dribbling ability, that technical ability and a mindset to want to beat players one-on-one. There aren't many players with his ability in tight spaces.

"I think he's going to bring something new to the country, very different as well to what we've got. That's what's exciting about Ballou.

"He'll be one of those players that will be very hard to pinpoint for opposition teams."

The latest development represents another major coup for the joint 2026 World Cup hosts after securing Ghana-born wonderkid Alphonso Davies and US-Born Jonathan David from Bayern Munich and Gent respectively.

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