Wednesday, November 16, 2016

French Black(Noirs de France)

Euro 2000

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 23 member all-time team for French Black players.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

The Blacks in French is estimated to be under 4 percent of the population.  The Black footballers are increasingly important to the French National Team.  Raoul Diagne was the first Black to be capped by France.  He was the second Black player to be capped by an European National Team.  Larbi Benbarek was the first ever Black superstar in the history of the game.  The World Cup winning team of 1998 was known as “black, blanc, beur” composition(Black, White and Arab). It represented the New France, a country built through its colonial past and immigrants. Six members of the team were Black.

Please also see:
French National Team
French Overseas Departments and its former colonies 
Black Players who played for England 
Black Portuguese Players
African-American Players
Afro-Brazilian Players 

GK: Bernard Lama 
Lama left Guiana in 1981 to come to Franceto become a professional footballer.  He started with Lille, but also played in Brest and Metz.  In 1992, he joined PSG, where he found stardom.  He won the Cup Winners' Cup in 1996.  After a brief career with West Ham and Rennes, he retired.  Capped 44 times.  He was mainly a backup throughout his NT career.  He was on the team that won the WC in 1998.

GK: Steve Mandanda 
Mandanda is a long-term starting keeper for Marseille.  He had played over 300 games for them since 2008. He served as the third keeper at the WC Finals in 2010.
Steve Mandanda 
GK: Charles Itandje
Born in France, he was capped by France at the youth level, but chose to represent Cameroon at th senior level.  He started with Lens in 2001.  in 2007, he moved to Liverpool, but did nit find playing time. Since 2009. he has been playing in the Greek and Turkish league.
RB: Jocelyn Angloma 
Angloma was a member of the great Marseille team of the early 1990's.  He won the European Cup in 1993.  He later played for Valencia and reached the Champions' League Final twice. He was a member of the French team at Euro 1992 and 1996.

CB/RB: Gérard Janvion 
Janvion played with Michel Platini for Saint-Etienne in the 1970's.  The team was considered one of the best French club sides in history. Capped 40 times. He went to the WC Finals in 1978 and 1982.
Gerard Janvion 
CB:  Marius Tresor 
Named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers.  He was the French captain before Platini's arrival. He went to the World Cup in 1978 and 1982.  In 1982, he scored one of the extra time goal against West Germany at the semifinal. He also played for Olympique de Marseille and Girondins de Bordeaux.

RB/CB:  Lilian Thuram 
Thuram is France's most capped player.  He was known for his strength, pace and stamina.  He played at the top flight in France, Italy and Spain for over 15 seasons, including ten in the Serie A with both Parma and Juventus. With France, Thuram won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, and was in the runner-up squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.  He scored two goals vs Croatia in the semifinal of the WC in 1998. 

CB: Raoul Diagne 
Born in French Guiana of Senegalese descent, he was the first Black player to be capped by France.  He earned 18 caps between 1931 and 1940.
Raoul Diagne 
CB: William Gallas
Gallas started his career with Caan before making a big move to Mariselle. In 2001, he moved to England, where his career flourished.  He would have a successful career with three London clubs: Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs.  Capped 84 times between 2002 and 2010.  He was a key player in all major tournaments completed by France in that period.

LB: Patrice Evra 
Evra began his career with Nice and made his name with Monaco, but it was in Manchester United where he became one of the best left backs in the world.  He played for the Red Devils from 2006 to 2014.  At the time of writing, he earned 66 caps and was a key player for France since 2008.  He was the captain of the national team.  At South Africa 2010, he led a player revolt against Raymond Domenech.

LB: Éric Abidal 
In his career, he played mainly for Lyon and Barcelona, winning 21 major titles the two teams combined, including two Champions League trophies with the latter. His later career was marked by liver disease, resulting in a transplant. A French international across nine years, Abidal represented the nation in two World Cups – finishing second in 2006 – and Euro 2008.

DM: Claude Makelele 
Makelele played  for Nantes, Marseille and Celta Vigo before making a big move to Real Madrid in 2000.  Over there, he quickly established as one of the best  defensive midfielder in the world.  He won every single club title available.  In 2003, he moved to Roman Abramovich's Chelsea.  He earned 71 caps for France.  He helped France to reach the Final of Germany 2006.
Claude Makelele 
DM: Christian Karembeu 
Born in New Caledonia. He moved to France as a 17 years old.  
He played for Nantes, Sampdoria (1995–97), Real Madrid (1997–2000), Middlesbrough (2000–01), Olympiakos (2001–04), Servette Genève (2004–05), Bastia (2005–06). With Real Madrid, he won the Champions League in 1998 and 2000.  He won the World Cup with France in 1998.  He was Oceania Player of the Year in 1995 and 1998.
Christian Karembeu with Thuram
CB/DM:  Marcel Desailly 
Marcel Desailly was considered to be one of the greatest defensive players during the 1990's.  He played 116 times for France, winning the WC in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000.  He was the first player to win the European Cup in consecutive seasons with different clubs, when he won it with Marseille in 1993 and AC Milan the following year.
Marcel Desailly
CM: Paul Pogba
Pogba began his senior career with Manchester United, but after only 3 appearance in a season and half, he moved to Juventus.  In Turin, he became a megastar.  He won the Golden Boy Award for the best player under-21 playing in Europe.  He also led Juventus to the Final of the 2015 Champions' League Final.  In the summer of 2016, Manchester United broke the all-time transfer fees to sign Pogba.  At the time of writing, he was capped 43 times.  He led France to reach the Final of Euro 2016.
Paul Pogba
CM: Jean Tigana 
He was a member of the great French side of the 1980's.  He won the Euro 1984 playing in the famous "Magic Square". He played with Bordeaux for eight years, winning three league titles and three French Cups.

Jean Tigana
RW: Sidney Govou 
Govou played with Lyon from 2000 to 2010, where he won 7 league titles.  He moved to Panathinaikos.  He later played for a various number of clubs in the lower division.  He was capped 49 times.  He was a late, injury replacement for both Euro 2004 and the WC Finals in 2006.

SS/LW/RW: Sylvain Wiltord 
He started with Rennes and Bordeaux before moving to Arsenal in England. He won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups. He also won the Ligue 1 title in each of his three subsequent seasons at Lyon.  For France, Wiltord has been capped 92 times, scoring 26 goals. His most memorable goal for Les Bleus was scored in dramatic fashion in the last seconds of the UEFA Euro 2000 final against Italy to tie the match 1–1 and bring the game to extra-time. France then won the final from a golden goal scored by David Trezeguet. He is the most capped French player who was not on the 1998 World Cup team.

LW: Florent Malouda 

Malouda played for Châteauroux and Guingamp before making a name with Lyon and Chelsea, winning four consecutive Ligue 1 titles with the former and the UEFA Champions League in 2012 with the latter, among other honours. Malouda represented Les Bleus on 80 occasions, including in two FIFA World Cups and two European Championships. He was part of the French team which reached the 2006 World Cup final.

CM: Patrick Vieira 
He is an Arsenal all-time great.  He won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.  In England. he was famous for his rivalry with Roy Keane.  With "Les Bleus", he won the WC in 1998 and European Championship in 2000.  He earned 107 caps.
Patrick Vieira 

AM: Larbi Benbarek 
Benbarek was the first Black player to reach stardom in Europe, earning the nick name "Black Pearl". He made his name with Stade Francasis Paris.  In 1948, he moved to Atletico Madrid, where he reached the height of his career and won two La Liga title.  Capped 19 times.  He was one of greatest French players ever.
Larbi Benbarek 

FW:  Theirry Henry
He is the all-time leading scorer for both Arsenal and France.  He was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year twice, and the FWA Footballer of the Year three times. He spent 8 seasons with Arsenal.

ST: Djibril Cisse
He started his career with Auxerre and stayed for six seasons, scoring 90 goals in 166 appearances.  In 2004, he moved to Premier League club Liverpool in 2004, where he won the 2004–05 UEFA Champions League and 2005–06 FA Cup.He went on to play in Panathinaikos, Lazio, Al-Gharafa and Kuban Krasnodor. He also had further spells with Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers, Olympique de Marseille and SC Bastia.  Capped 41 times.  he played in all matches at the WC Finals in 2002, but he missed out at Euro 2004 and Germany 2006 before making a return for South Africa 2010.

ST: Nicholas Anelka
Anelka began his career at Paris Saint-Germain, but soon moved to Arsenal after a season. He became a first team regular and won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award the following season. Real Madrid signed him for £22.3 million in 1999, where he won the Champions League in 2000.  He also played for Liverpool, Fenerbahce, Manchester City, Chelsea, Shanghai Shenhua and WBA.  Capped 69 times.  He appeared in his first major tournament at Euro 2000, but from 2001 to 2007, he was absent from the big tournaments.  He went to Euro 2008 and South Africa 2010.  In South Africa, he involved with the player's revolt against Raymond Domenech.  He was later given a 18 match ban.
Nicholas Anelka

Honorable Mention
Ibrahim Ba, Martin Djetou, Patrice Loko, Mikaël Silvestre, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Louis Saha, Blaise Matuidi, Lassana Diarra, Alou Diarra, Ali Ahamada, Charles Itandje, Raïs M’Bohli.

Squad Explanation
-- I do not have a third French goalkeeper eligible for this squad.  So I selected French-born keepers who were capped by another country.  Ali Ahamada, Charles Itandje and Raïs M’Bohli were born in France so I counted them as French players.  
-- Raoul Diagne was honoured here as the first Black player capped by France.  
-- The last centerback selected was William Gallas.  I took him over Basile Boli. Boli is probably the biggest name missing here. I felt Gallas was underrated.
-- Pogba helped France to reach the Final of a major tournament(Euro 2016).  He has outdone some of the players here.   


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