Defender Madjid Bougherra jumped at the chance to represent Les Fennecs even though he was born in France. He played his first game for Algeria's U-23 team against Ghana in January 2003 and was called up for the senior side in the summer of that same year, when Algeria faced Zimbabwe in a 2006 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier.
Bougherra was born in Dijon, but his parents hail from Annaba in Algeria, and he is the second youngest of five children. He first showed his love of the game from the age of seven, when he began to turn out for his local district team. His development continued in the U-14 side at ALC Longvic and around that time he was spotted by an agent, who wasted no time in getting him to sign his first professional contract with Gueugnon. In spite of his obvious ability, he did not manage to hold down a regular spot in Les Forgerons’ starting eleven. In 2006, Bougherra went on loan to the English Championship side Crewe Alexandra and performed well from the outset, notably scoring one of his team’s four goals in a win over Coventry City. Unfortunately, despite becoming a firm favourite with the fans of The Railwaymen, he was unable to prevent the club from the north-west from being relegated, and fellow Championship side Sheffield Wednesday made the decision to bring him in to boost their push for promotion the following season.
Bougherra really shone in his time with The Owls, picking up a Player of the Month award and even got to wear the captain’s armband in a game against Queens Park Rangers, before he took the chance to join Charlton Athletic in January 2007. Then, in 2008, just as he was finalising a move to West Bromwich Albion, Bougherra changed his mind and committed himself to Glasgow Rangers. The move enabled him to really mature, and he has since lifted Scottish Premier League and Scottish Cup trophies. He even scored an important goal against Stuttgart in the UEFA Champions League but did receive some criticism as a result of his late return to training after the celebrations that followed Algeria's qualification for South Africa 2010. In addition to his power and strength and his excellent heading ability, Bougherra can lay claim to being able to play in various positions, which means he is just as much at ease in a holding midfield role as he is in the centre of the defence.