Wednesday, November 16, 2016

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

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

World Cup 2018

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

French Overseas Departments and its former colonies 
Black Players who played for England 
Black Portuguese Players
African-American Players
Afro-Brazilian Players 
Parisian nation team in World Cup 2018

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.
European Championship 2000

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, 2014 and 2018, where France won the World Cup in 2018. He has three brothers who are also professional goalkeepers.
Steve Mandanda 
GK: Mike Maignan
Born in born in Cayenne, French Guiana, Maignan started with Paris St.Germain in 2012, but he never played a game there. In 2015, he joined Lille. In 2018-2019 season, he was an ever-present as Lille finished as runners-up to PSG, and was elected Goalkeeper of the year in the Trophées UNFP du football. He earned his first cap against Ukraine in 2020.

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, winning 4 la Ligue titles. 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 between 1975 and 1982. 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 had 65 caps.  He was the French captain before Michele 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/RWB: Raoul Diagne 
Born in French Guiana of Senegalese descent, Raoul Diagne 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 played RC Paris, Toulouse, and Nice in his career. 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.  He could play anywhere on the field, including the goalkeeper position.
Raoul Diagne 
CB: Raphaël Varane 
Varane started with Lens. After one season with the French club, as a professional footballer, Varane joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2011. With Real Madrid, he won 3 Champions League in 4 years.  In 2012, he made his international debut.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 2014, where he was nominated as the Young Player of the Tournament.  He missed the 2016 European Championship through an injury.

LB: Patrice Evra 
Patrice 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. He also played in 2002 World Cup Finals as well as Euro 2004 and 2008.
Claude Makelele 
DM: N'Golo Kanté 
Kante played in France before. he joined Leicester City in 2015 winning the Premier League in his only season there. The following year, he joined Chelsea, winning the league again in his first season. He also won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year and became the first outfield player to win back-to-back English league titles with different clubs since Eric Cantona in 1990's. He was a key player as France won the 2018 World Cup Finals.

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. Late in his career, he played for Chelsea in England as well as clubs in the Middle East.
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 
Jean Tigana played 52 times for France from 1980 to 1988. 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 
Wiltord 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 3 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 
Larbi Benbarek was born and raised in Morocco in the period when the country was under the French rule.  He 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: Kylian Mbappé 
Mbappe was a well-known youth player in France before making his senior debut with AS Monaco in 2015.  He quickly established himself as one of the best young players in the world.  In 2017, he joined  Paris St Germain on loan for a buyout option of around €180 million. In 2017, he made his national team debut, becoming the second youngest ever French international. During the WC Finals in 2018, he became the youngest goal scorer in the Final since Pele as France won the World Cup.

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: 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, Christian Karembeu, William Gallas, Basile Boli, Djibril Cisse, Samuel Umtiti, Alban Lafont.

Squad Explanation
-- A lot pf players listed here also belonged to this blog team: French Overseas Departments and its former colonies.
-- Marcel Desailly, Lilian Thuram, Marius Tresor, Patrick Vieira, Jean Tigana and Thierry Henry are on my All-Time French team.
-- When I created this team in 2016, I did 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.  However, in October, 2019, I discovered Mike Maignan and Alban Lafont.
-- Race is a sensitive issue for a lot of people.  Christian Karembeu is from New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean.  According to wikipedia, the indigenous peoples of Oceania are considered as Black. So anyone from those regions are eligible for this blog.
-- Raoul Diagne was honoured here as the first Black player capped by France.  He was an imposing defender who could play anywhere on the field.  He had both size and speed. He even played as a goalkeeper not even cameo situation.  Some said that his best position might be right winger too. He would always be a part of this team.
-- When I created my blog in 2016, the last centerback selected was William Gallas.  I took him over Basile Boli. Boli is probably the biggest name missing here.  However, in 2018, I replaced Gallas with Raphael Varane.  Varane has been playing well with both club and country since then.
-- The team has plenty of great fullbacks. Jocelyn Angloma and Lillian Thuram played on the right.  On the left, I have Patrice Evra and Éric Abidal.  Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy only made honorable mention.
-- Thuram is the most capped player in the history of the France national team with 142 appearances between 1994 and 2008.  He only scored two goals, both of which came in a 2-1 win over Croatia in the 1998 World Cup semi-final.  He also authored the book "La pensée blanche"(How Racial Bias Is Constructed and How to Move Beyond It ).
-- Larbi Benbarek was one of the greatest attack midfielder ever played the game, but he did not make my France All-Time team. He did not make my all-time team because of Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane and Raymond Kopa.
-- Paul Pogba helped France to reach the Final of a major tournament(Euro 2016) and won a World Cup.  He has outdone some of the players here.    
-- After the World Cup Finals of 2018. Kylian Mbappé who is still a teenager at the time of writing replaced Djibril Cisse.  Mbappé is a World Cup winning hero.
-- Raphael Varane who had won 4 Champions' league titles with Real Madrid and a World Cup replaced William Gallas. N'Golo Kanté replaced Christian Karembeu.
-- N'Golo Kanté also won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year.
-- The team has depth in defensive/central midfielders.  Besides Kante, I also selected Paul Pogba, Claude Makelele, Patrick Vieira, Marcel Desailly and Jean Tigana.  They were amoing the greatest in their position in their generation. Christian Karembeu, Blaise Matuidi, Lassana Diarra and Alou Diarra made honorable mention,
-- Ibrahim Ba and Patrice Loko started their career well, but they never lived up to expectation. 



  1. You seems to have totally forgotten about Alain Girese and David Trezeguet. Both of them are black, and among France's finest in thier positions.

  2. Time to edit this and add players who won the 2018 world cup final: Kante, Pogba and Mbappe are shoe ins.