Video Game Error Tricks Bolivia Into Claiming French Football Player

Illustration for article titled Video Game Error Tricks Bolivia Into Claiming French Football Player

Ruben Aguilar is a young French footballer who plays for Montpellier in Ligue 1. He is French, but an error in the Football Manager series of video games has given cruel, false hope to a South American nation starved of international talent.


As discussed in this inteview with Goal (in French), there’s a mistake in last year’s version of the life-destroying management game where Aguilar is incorrectly given dual citizenship of both France and Bolivia.

With tens of thousands of players in the game, mistakes are bound to happen from time to time, but the difference here is that it’s turned into an international thing. Bolivian players of Football Manager noticed his supposed South American heritage last season, but a string of strong performances in the real world (especially against French giants PSG) this year have blown up to such an extent that he made the TV in Bolivia, with the country’s national team management contacting him to enquire about the possibility of him playing for them.

All of which was very flattering, but Aguilar’s mother is French and his father is Spanish. The entire push to sign him up (footballers with mixed heritage can choose which of their family’s nations they choose to represent) was based on the Football Manager error.

To set the record straight, Aguilar was forced to post an official notice on his Facebook page:

Here it is in English:

For the past few weeks, we have received dozens of messages concerning the nationality of Ruben. On Facebook and Twitter many information also circulate. In order to remove doubts; by this communiqué, we affirm that Ruben was born in Grenoble (France), of Spanish father and French mother. As a result, he does not have a Bolivian passport. In any case, we thank you for all messages of support and the enthusiasm aroused to see him wearing the jersey of ‘La Verde’. ¡Muchas Gracias!


The top comment beneath the notice is from “the manager of the Bolivia database for the game football manager”, who says he’s making sure the error isn’t repeated in Football Manager 2018, which is out in November.

Guess Bolivia, who haven’t qualified for the World Cup since 1994 (and who won’t be going to Russia next year, as they sit second-last in South America’s qualification table) will have to look elsewhere for a new right-back.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs



Starved of international talent describes the plight of my half (mother’s side)-country folk quite accurately. It’s been way too long since the days of El Diablo Etcheverry.

Interestingly, he will be suiting up again for an old-timers game prior to the final DC United soccer game in crumbling RFK stadium. Should be fun!