Raymond Domenech will take the opportunity to assess his France side’s options before the World Cup when les Bleus meet Spain in a friendly in Paris next week, having named a number of new faces in his squad to tackle La Furia Roja.
After a prolonged media campaign in France, Olympique de Marseille’s dynamic midfield Benoit Cheyrou has received a call, while team-mate Hatem Ben Arfa has not been overlooked either. Both have been in tremendous form for les Phoceens of late, with Ben Arfa coming back from the brink of leaving the club to star in several fixtures over the course of the last two months.
In addition, Girondins de Bordeaux defender Michael Ciani has received recognition for his string of excellent performances in recent times. The centre-back has proved himself a stoical figure in the heart of the rearguard, even aiding his club side with three vital goals in the Champions League, including a strike in Tuesday’s 1-0 success over Olympiacos. Lille central defender Adil Rami is also called.
Finally, Everton hitman Louis Saha has received recognition for his sparkling form in the Premier League by earning a recall to the side. The former Manchester United man’s career has been plagued by injury problems but his form of late has left pundits in England drooling, with a decisive brace against Chelsea in a recent league encounter a particular highlight.
Saha’s gain is the loss of Djibril Cisse, who had hoped to earn a call to the side after enjoying a prolific start to his career in Greece with Panathinaikos.
Les Bleus will turn out for the game wearing a new white strip with pinstripes of red and blue.
France squad to face Spain on March 3:
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux)
Defenders: Jean-Alain Boumsong (Lyon), Michael Ciani (Bordeaux), Julien Escude (Sevilla), Aly Cissokho (Lyon), Patrice Evra (Manchester Utd), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Rod Fanni (Rennes), Adil Rami (Lille).
Midfielders: Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon), Benoit Cheyrou (Marseille), Florent Malouda (Chelsea).
Attackers: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Hatem Ben Arfa (Marseille), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Loic Remy (Nice), Louis Saha (Everton)