Alejandro Bedoya wants Ligue 1 stay, despite recent attacks in France
Alejandro Bedoya scored three goals in 29 matches last season in Ligue 1 with Nantes.
United States international midfielder Alejandro Bedoya said in a radio interview on Sunday that his love of the game gives him "peace of mind" while plying his trade for FC Nantes in Ligue 1, and he still feels really safe in France, despite recent terror attacks that have hit the country.
Speaking to "Soccer Today" on 103.3 FM in Dallas, Bedoya praised the solidarity and spirit of the French people in the wake of two devastating terrorist attacks in the past nine months and said he intends to "live life without any fear" as he embarks on his fourth season at Nantes.
"Everything that's been going on has been very tragic," Bedoya, 29, told Soccer Today. "The past year and a half, France has come under attack. I was actually in Budapest with my girlfriend and my baby boy and turned on the news as I was about to fall asleep ... all of a sudden I see the scenes happening in Nice.
"The French Riviera, it's beautiful and ... how could this happen? People are just celebrating Bastille Day; it's supposed to be with fireworks and fun. It's really heartbreaking and tragic. It is tough to watch, not just in France but even back here in the States. I'm a father now and with my kid, [you] just have to think about going into crowded areas, even to a movie theater, just basic things that you enjoy in life, just because of all the stuff that's been going on."
Bedoya, though, insists that the ongoing turmoil in France has not led him to think about curtailing his career abroad.
"I'd still obviously prefer to stay in Europe," Bedoya said.
"Since my son was born, I've always thought about coming back to the States, and that's still in the back of my mind and there's still ongoing discussions about that," he added. "[But] I still feel like I have a lot left to do, and I'm still ambitious about playing at the highest level. No disrespect to MLS at all; it's a continuously growing league. But MLS is still in the back of my mind as a place I'd like to come back."
Having established himself as one of the club's most influential players, Bedoya signed a contract extension with Nantes in February 2015 that is scheduled to keep him there through the 2018-19 season.
"I try to live life without any fear," Bedoya said. "Just try to enjoy it and try to make the best out of it, but, obviously now, more so than ever, it's more about being aware of your surroundings, and if you see something that you don't think is right, you just try to avoid it. But I still feel actually really safe wherever I go, and I'm doing what I love to do, which is play soccer, and that gives me peace of mind. That's the way I look at it."
As for reflecting on the United States' trip to the semifinals in the recent Copa America and lukewarm reviews of that achievement in some corners, Bedoya said: "I think, in the whole grand scheme of things, from a whole tournament standpoint, I think it was solid. You look at the teams that finished in front of us ... those are three teams ranked in the top 10 in the FIFA rankings. Say what you will about the FIFA rankings, but the fact is [Chile, Argentina and Colombia] are very good teams.
"For us to be in that same category, it was a pretty solid tournament. I think definitely the third-place game with Colombia, we were a bit unlucky. In football, like with any other sport, you tend to not be lucky sometimes, and we were unfortunate to hit the post, and we weren't able to convert our chances, but I thought we outplayed Colombia in that game. I think where the mixed bag comes in is the way we lost to against Argentina."
"I was not a part of that [Argentina] game," Bedoya continued. "I wish I was, and I know I would have made a difference and I think we would have not lost the way we did. No disrespect to the other guys that played, but we were missing three key players [Jermaine Jones and Bobby Wood were also suspended], and we had been playing with the same lineup the whole tournament.
"We were comfortable with each other, we were familiar with each other and when you tend to change things up a little bit, obviously some things are going to change. So I think the mixed bag comes in with the Argentina loss. It makes us look like we regressed, maybe, that we're not able to keep up with the best and we had no chance. But in reality, overall, I think we had a good tournament."