Wednesday, November 16, 2016

French Black(Noirs de France) Greatest All-Time Team

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 

Team
GK: Bernard Lama 
Lama left Guiana in 1981 to come to France to 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 made his league début for Le Havre in August 2005. He joined Marseille in 2008.  He had played over 300 games for them since 2008. He spent a season with Crytal Palace.  For the natinal team, he was mainly a backup keeper.  At the time of writing, he has 26 caps.  He served as the third keeper at the WC Finals in 2010 and 2014. He has three brothers who are also professional goalkeepers.
Steve Mandanda 
GK: Charles Itandje
Born in France, Charles Itandje was capped by France at the youth level, but chose to represent Cameroon at th senior level.  He was their starting keeper at 2014 World Cup Finals. He started with Lens in 2001.  in 2007, he moved to Liverpool, but did not 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.  In 2006, Angloma came out of retirement to play for his native région, Guadeloupe, and help them qualify for the 2007 Caribbean Nations Cup.

CB/RB: Gérard Janvion 
Gerard Janvion started his career in Martinique with the local side CS Case-Pilote.  He played for Saint-Etienne between 1972 and 1983. He played with Michel Platini over there in the 1970's.  The team was considered one of the best French club sides in history. He later played for PSG before retiring from football. He capped 40 times. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1978 and 1982.
Gerard Janvion 
CB:  Marius Tresor 
Marius Tresor was 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 Finals 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.  He went to the 1938 World Cup Finals. He is the son of politician Blaise Diagne. He was the first black African elected to the French Chamber of Deputies, and the first to hold a position in the French government.
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, Christian Karembeu moved to France as a 17 years old.  He played for Nantes, Sampdoria, Real Madrid, Middlesbrough , Olympiakos, Servette Genève, Bastia. 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 World Cup 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 
Tigana played 52 times for France. He was a member of the great French side of the 1980's.  He won the Euro 1984 playing in the famous "Magic Square" alongside Michel Platini. He also went to the 1982 and 1986 Wolrd Cup Finals. He played with Bordeaux for eight years, winning three league titles and three French Cups.  He also spent time with Toulon, Lyon and Marseille.

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 for France.  He were not selected originally for both Euro 2004 and the World Cup Finals in 2006, but he was called up as as a late injury replacement.

SS/LW/RW: Sylvain Wiltord 
He started with Rennes and Bordeaux before moving to Arsenal, winning 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, he was capped 92 times, scoring 26 goals. He scored in the last seconds of the Euro 2000 final that brought the game to extra-time. France then won the final from a golden goal. 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 Champions League in 2012 with the latter. Malouda represented Les Bleus on 80 times, 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 
Vieira was an all-time great with Arsenal.  He won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups.  In England. he was famous for his rivalry with Roy Keane.  He spent a season at Juventus, helping the team to the Serie A championship. Following Juventus' relegation for their part in a match-fixing scandal, Vieira played for Inter Milan and then, Manchester City for two seasons. 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.  He is considered one of the greatest ever French player. He was capped 19 times between 1938 and 1954.
Larbi Benbarek 
FW:  Theirry Henry
Henry 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 started with AS Monaco in 1994. The, he spent 8 seasons with Arsenal, where he enjoyed the peak of his career. He also played for Juventus, Barcelona and NY Red Bulls. He earned 123 caps and was a part of France's Golden Team form 1998 to 2002.

ST: Djibril Cisse
He started his career with Auxerre and stayed for six seasons.  In 2004, he moved to Liverpool, where he won the Champions League in 2005. He later played with Panathinaikos, Lazio, Al-Gharafa, Kuban Krasnodor, Sunderland, 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, where he won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award. He joined Real Madrid 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 played at Euro 2000, 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, Raphael Varane, Basile Boli.


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.  This is the biggest exception in all of my blogs.
-- 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. Raphael Varane has been playing well too.  He needs to build up his career before he is considered. 
-- Paul Pogba helped France to reach the Final of a major tournament(Euro 2016).  He has outdone some of the players here.   
-- At the time of writing, Kylian Mbappé is still a teenager. He would be there very soon.  The difference between Pogba and  Mbappé is the 2016 European Championship.  The same applied to Varane, who was injured for the tournament. Their status might change after the WC Finals in Russia.

Formation





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