Madjid Bougherra has declared himself fit for Algeria's FIFA World Cup campaign™. The Rangers defender, who missed the end of the Premier League season with a calf injury, took part in his country's training session yesterday ahead of tonight's friendly with the Republic of Ireland.
The 27-year-old will sit out that game but claims he will return for Algeria's final warm-up game against UAE in Nuremberg next Friday. Bougherra, who played just two matches for Rangers since February's Old Firm derby win, said in the Scottish Sun: "I am fine now and there will be no problem for the World Cup. I won't play against Ireland but I will play next week and everything is good with the injury.
"There's no danger of me missing our opening game against Slovenia. I've had problems with the calf injury but everything is good now. I didn't do a full session tonight but I will train with the boys for the first time on Monday. They're being careful with me but I'll play in Germany next Friday."
Algeria will face England in their second Group C match in South Africa and Bougherra is relishing facing "arguably the best striker on the planet" in Wayne Rooney.
He said: "From the moment the World Cup finals draw was made six months ago, I've been looking forward to tackling Rooney. It's the ultimate test for any defender, just as tough as facing Messi or Ronaldo. Rooney will be one of the biggest players in South Africa this summer and clearly the biggest threat to Algeria. He's been in great form for Manchester United, and England will rely a lot on him."
Bougherra, who boasted about "keeping Rooney off the scoresheet" while at Charlton - the only time he has previously faced the striker - added: "I know he will be a difficult opponent as he's a good player with great movement. He has everything in his game and is a great finisher too. But I like these moments when I play the best players in the world as I learn more."