Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Madjid ready for Frat party

Madjid Bougherra has only just begun his summer break — but is already looking forward to Rangers' pre-season games and a clash with one of his Algeria team-mates.

While most of his Ibrox side finished up the season with their 1-0 Homecoming Scottish Cup win over Falkirk at Hampden on May 30, the former Charlton defender has been on international duty.

The 26-year-old scored the first goal in Algeria's 2-0 World Cup qualifying win in Zambia at the weekend which left them three points clear at the top of the table with just three games to go.

While Bougherra contemplates helping Algeria to the World Cup finals next summer for the first time since 1986, another exacting season for the Light Blues awaits.

The SPL champions have a tough pre-season schedule, with three friendly games in Germany, then play Paris St Germain and Arsenal in London at the start of August.

Their final warm-up game before the league gets under way will come at Portsmouth on August 8, where Bougherra will come against his international colleague Nadir Belhadj.

“Pre-season is going to be great,” Bougherra said. “Obviously we are playing Paris St Germain and I was born in France so that will be special.

“The Portsmouth game will be the same for me because I will be coming up against my friend Nadir Belhadj.

“While we were away with Algeria last week, we were talking about the game after we found out that we will be playing each other.

“That is good because after that match, we have a game with our country the following midweek so we can travel to that together and it will be fun.

“I have been teasing Nadir — he is very quick so I told him he needs to be careful against me because I am determined to win.”

The majority of Rangers' players will return to Murray Park for the start of pre-season training on July 9.

But Bougherra is expected to be given extended leave by boss Walter Smith.

He said: “That is something I will need to speak to the manager about but hopefully I will be able to get some extra time off.

“For three years now, I have had the same situation where I've been playing all season then I've had matches in the summer too.

“When my team-mates have had six weeks off and I've only had two or three, it can be very difficult.

“I have started more or less every game for Rangers over the last year so it is important that I have a chance to recover from that properly.

“Hopefully I can come to an arrangement with the gaffer.”

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