Tag Archives: olympique

Joey Barton criticised by Paris Saint-Germain for ladyboy tweets aimed at Thiago Silva

PSG blast Marseille's Barton for 'ladyboy' tweets aimed at Brazilian defender Silva

James Cann, Press Association


20:13 GMT, 3 April 2013



20:13 GMT, 3 April 2013

Paris Saint-Germain have criticised Joey Barton after the Marseille midfielder used social networking website Twitter to liken Thiago Silva to an 'overweight ladyboy'.

In a series of tweets published through his official account, the on-loan QPR player questioned whether Brazilian defender Silva was 'pre-op or post-op' and demanded an explanation why the 28-year-old had mentioned him in his pre-match press conference ahead of last night's Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona.

The Ligue 1 leaders tonight expressed their unhappiness with Barton's 'unacceptable remarks' and threatened to “take action” against the former England international.

Immense: Thiago Silva (right) played against Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday

Immense: Thiago Silva (right) played against Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday

A statement published on psg.fr read: 'In the last few hours, on social networks, unacceptable remarks have been made by Olympique Marseille player Joey Barton against Paris St Germain player Thiago Silva.

'These attacks are serious and go beyond mere verbal jousting. The directors of the club, the players and the coaching staff are supportive of Thiago Silva and cannot accept such statements.

'They reaffirm their unwavering commitment to the values of respect that should govern our sport.

'Thiago Silva and Paris St Germain reserve the right to take any action they deem necessary.'

PSG have taken issue with a series of tweets against the player which began to appear on Barton's account from yesterday afternoon.

Barton originally tweeted: 'Thiago Silva. That the same p**** thats been injured all season. Another over rated Brazilian. Sort your hamstrings out FatBoy…'

Blast: PSG have criticised the Marseille midfielder (right) for his tweets about their defender

Blast: PSG have criticised the Marseille midfielder (right) for his tweets about their defender

Joey Barton

Thiago Silva

Leap: Barton (left) demanded to know why Silva was discussing him in his pre-match press conference

The Liverpudlian was responding negatively to comments from Silva ahead of last night's game at the Parc des Princes, which finished 2-2 ahead of next week's second leg at the Nou Camp.

He continued tweeting during the game, adding: 'Have to take back what I said about Thiago Silva being over rated today. Been immense tonight. Still looks like a overweight ladyboy though!

'2 questions for Thiago Silva. Firstly, Why are YOU talking about ME, in your press conference before PSG v Barca Very strange.

'Secondly, Are you Pre-Op or Post-Op #transsexual #thiagosaladyboy

'Baffles me, which way he's going. Is he a man changing to a woman or a woman changing to a man Can't work it out.'

Inflammatory: Barton took to Twitter to slate the PSG defender

Inflammatory: Barton took to Twitter to slate the PSG defender

Speaking to L'Equipe on Monday, Silva had said: 'There is a Marseille player, I cannot remember his name, an Englishman, who has said bad things about Neymar and Brazilian football, and also about (David) Beckham and (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic.

'Because no one is talking about him, it seems it is fun for him to criticise great players for people to know he exists.'

Ibrahimovic backs Beckham to deliver after PSG show their star quality in 4-0 rout of Toulouse

VIDEO: What has Becks signed up for PSG show their star quality in rout of Toulouse as Ibrahimovic backs former England captian to deliver in Paris

Sami Mokbel


22:19 GMT, 1 February 2013



08:08 GMT, 2 February 2013

New signing David Beckham may
struggle to win a place in the Paris St Germain team on the evidence of
their 4-0 demolition of mid-table Toulouse on Friday.

The Ligue 1 leaders, who signed
free-agent Beckham on Thursday, were without the former Real Madrid and Manchester United midfielder
as he had returned to England for extra training in a bid to sharpen his

Beckham has been without a club since winning the Major League Soccer title with Los Angeles Galaxy in December.

VIDEO: Scroll down to watch highlights of PSG's win over Toulouse

Clinical: PSG defender Mamadou Sakho heads home

Clinical: PSG defender Mamadou Sakho heads home

Beck and forth: Beckham missed the game to sharpen up his fitness

Sales pitch: But a Beckham shirt will cost you an eye-watering 100 on PSG website

He is due to begin training at PSG on February 13.

Carlo Ancelotti's PSG moved three points clear at the top of the table thanks to Javier Pastore, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with his 20th goal on his 20th league appearance for the club, Mamadou Sakho and Gregory van der Wiel.

Brazil striker Lucas, another recent recruit, produced a fine performance and set up two of the goals.

PSG have 48 points from 23 games. Second-placed Olympique Lyon travel to AC Ajaccio on Sunday.

VIDEO: Watch highlights from PSG's 4-0 win over Toulouse

Meanwhile, Ibrahimovic has leapt to defence of David Beckham's after his new team-mate was called a 'third-hand Rolls-Royce'.

The 37-year-old has signed a five-month deal with Paris Saint-Germain, but his capture has not caused as much glee as you would expect, despite the former England captain pledging his 170,000-per-week wages to a Paris children's charity.

It is claimed Beckham will still receive a hefty image rights fee, and PSG are said to be paying for his accommodation and security in the capital. And his arrival in France was not particularly well received by the Parisian press yesterday.

Top man: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (R) celebrates after scoring

Top man: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (R) celebrates after scoring

Impressed: PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti

Impressed: PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti

Newspaper Le Figaro read: 'A special status can feed jealousy. In a dressing room where the offensive egos of players are struggling to live, the arrival of a third-hand Rolls-Royce, which becomes the main focus of media fascination, risks causing envy, while feeding a climate of discord.'

The paper also suggests players will be 'annoyed' by Becks and wife Victoria appearing in glossy magazines, but new teammate Ibrahimovic insists the global icon still has plenty to offer on the pitch.

He said: 'For a striker playing with somebody like David is a dream. He is the best deliverer of the ball in the world, still.

'If you make the good runs, you know he will find you. I am sure we will create something very special. David said that when he left the US, he had more offers than at any point in his career. The fact that he chose PSG says a lot about the project we have here.

'It is no longer just the big teams from Italy, Spain and England the top players want to come to – it is now us as well. It is excellent news for us that David is permitted to play in Europe. He still has so much to offer at that level, and his experience with Manchester United and Real Madrid will be vital.

'I am sure David wants to win the Champions League again before he retires.'

Joey Barton is hoping to stay in Marseille for longer and terminate his contract at QPR

Barton and QPR ready to terminate contract and make French holiday permanent



11:19 GMT, 27 December 2012

Joey Barton could stay at Marseille for longer than his 12-month loan as it is understood QPR chiefs have encouraged him to terminate his contract by mutual consent.

He has won over the Olympique Marseille club and fans since going on loan at the end of August and, as he is still in receipt of almost 300,000 a month from his parent club.

QPR are keen to do both themselves and the Ligue 1 title challengers a favour and make him a free agent.

Barton has quickly become popular amongst Marseille supporters in his seven matches

Fans' favourite: Barton has quickly become popular amongst Marseille supporters in his seven matches

He has made seven appearances for Elie Baup’s side, and despite being banned from making his debut until late November, has certainly settled in.

According to Le Phoceen, QPR bosses have already spoken with Barton to raise the issue, and the player has gone on record to say he will not be returning to Loftus Road.

The controversial midfielder has lost nothing of his aggressive side since his move to France

No holding back: The controversial midfielder has lost nothing of his aggressive side since his move to France

The 30-year old may, however, choose to return to England or move elsewhere in Europe.

Valencia have previous reported interest and he has also been touted as a potential replacement for Marouane Fellaini at Everton.

Eric Abidal: PSG tried to sign me, I won"t leave Barcelona

I wouldn't leave Barcelona, not even for PSG's megabucks, says Abidal



15:35 GMT, 23 December 2012

Eric Abidal has revealed that not even money-flushed PSG could lure him away from Barcelona.

The Frenchman admitted the Qatari-owned club wanted to sign him earlier this year, but says Spain is his new home.

After making a return to training last week for the first time since his liver transplant in April, Abidal reiterated he is determined to make a full recovery and remain with Barcelona until the end of his career.

Road to recovery: Abidal is back in training for Barcelona

Road to recovery: Abidal is back in training for Barcelona

'(PSG have) Maxwell and Mamadou Sakho who play as central defenders, so I think of them and I prefer to stay in Barcelona,' he told Olympique Lyonnais's TV channel.

'It's not just about me, it's a decision I've made for my family too. My wife feels good here and my children have settled into the town.'

The 33-year old's contract expires in the summer, but vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said a new contract will be drawn up as soon as he returns to playing.

Abidal's improved health has been a source of strength for his Barcelona team-mates, who are struggling with the news that coach Tito Vilanova requires further cancer treatment.

Barca for life: Abidal wants to see out his career with the Catalans

Barca for life: Abidal wants to see out his career with the Catalans

Demba Ba interview: Striker turned down by Watford and Barnsley, always has to prove himself

EXCLUSIVE: All my life I have had to prove people wrong, says Toon hero Demba Ba



23:00 GMT, 2 November 2012

It reads like a Who isn’t Who of European football: Montgaillard, Le Havre, Frileuse, Mountrouge, Olympique Lyonnais, Auxerre, Foligno, Watford (twice), Barnsley, Amiens, Rouen, Mouscron. Even Stoke City.

All clubs who could have signed Demba Ba and cashed in on the full potential of one of the most explosive strikers to play in the Barclays Premier League.

Ba is hot property right now. He is Newcastle United’s top scorer again, following the 16 goals he scored last season with six more in this campaign. Saturday’s opponents Liverpool are among the clubs who may be tempted to spend 7.5million to trigger the clause in the contract Ba signed last summer when he left West Ham.

Trigger man: Demba Ba is one of the league's most explosive strikers

Trigger man: Demba Ba is one of the league's most explosive strikers

No wonder manager Alan Pardew and Newcastle are desperate to renegotiate his deal. Ba, 27, is an essential part of a team which could reach the knockout phase of the Europa League in Bruges next week.

It’s a very different European adventure for the Paris-born Senegalese who kicked a ball around with his pals every day until he joined a sports and studies school for his secondary education. He was a defensive midfielder when he started his desperate journey to win a contract somewhere, anywhere.

‘I was like Patrick Vieira,’ he says when asked for a comparison. ‘I was technically good, natural, big and strong, but I didn’t like a tackle. I have never really liked defending, chasing people. Tackling like Cheick (Tiote), for example. I couldn’t do that. I was 18 when I became a striker — it was late, not even 10 years ago when my agent and my best friend convinced me. I’ve learned fast.’

He trained with the pros at Watford and was on the brink of signing when manager Ray Lewington was sacked. It was such a blur that Ba gets Watford mixed up with Barnsley, where he also had a fruitless week.

‘We started training and then they sacked the manager the next day so then no training for two days and we just went back to the hotel and waited.

‘We met the manager one day, shook hands with him and the next day he was gone. Wow. Welcome to Barnsley. Welcome to professional football.

‘I just loved kicking a ball but I was determined to be a footballer and I wanted a professional contract, I would go to any professional club to get one. From 15, all I wanted was to be a footballer.

‘I had no clue who Barnsley or Watford were. All I knew was they were professional clubs and I said to myself, “If you make it you will have a professional contract”. It did not matter where it was, from there I could start proving what I can do. I just had to be patient.

Near the top: Ba, after being rejected by numerous teams, has proved them all wrong

Near the top: Ba, after being rejected by numerous teams, has proved them all wrong

On the ball: Ba got injured at Bologna

On the ball: Ba got injured at Bologna

‘And I have done everything. I went to France, Italy, Belgium. I had a trial with a team in the fourth league near Bologna. They wanted to sign me and I did well there but I got an injury and I couldn’t train for weeks so I had to go home. Maybe it was a good thing. I had proved I could play.’

Life changed in Rouen. Although he was to break his shin, he did enough to alert scouts from Mouscron in Belgium, who signed him, and eventually sold him to Hoffenheim for 2.5m. And then he really took off.

Speaking at the Gateshead International Stadium, where he had done three interviews and a photo shoot for adidas, pausing only for time to pray, Ba was amused by the change in his circumstances. He likes events like this, he says, ‘once in a while’.

‘When I went to Rouen I got a little contract, earning less than 1,000 a month. I was living in a flat that is smaller than this,’ he points at a typical sports hall changing room and laughs. ‘Wow. You know I was so happy because I was playing football, and my team-mates at Rouen were absolutely brilliant, some good dudes.

‘It went well for three weeks, then I broke my shin and I was out for seven months. But I came back stronger, had a good two months and I scored seven in seven games, and then after that, Belgium. Rouen was the start of the happiness but there was no real sadness then.

Good times: Ba enjoyed life with Rouen

Good times: Ba enjoyed life with Rouen

‘Unfortunately today in football there are times when it all goes wrong. You guys are on us all the time — people, press, media, agents, money, everything comes to a head and you just want to stop playing football.

‘And then you remember why you started and you keep on going. It has not been as dark as that for me but sometimes I do ask, “Why all this work, all these sacrifices”’

Trouble: Ba's life was endangered when Senegalese fans rioted

Trouble: Ba's life was endangered when Senegalese fans rioted

If Ba is willing to express such deep concerns about his profession after all his efforts and personal sacrifices, it is no wonder. Amid all the recent controversies, it has almost been overlooked that the Newcastle striker, along with team-mates Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote, were among the Senegal and Ivory Coast players being protected by army and police on the pitch when their Africa Cup of Nations play-off was halted by fans last month.

Days later Ba was the subject of alleged racist abuse during a typically poisonous Wear-Tyne derby at Sunderland. Ba’s late own goal settled the game and he was cruelly mocked by Sunderland fans as he made his way to the team bus afterwards. But after what he had been through in Africa, he was unmoved by the abuse.

‘The military were there, police, state police,’ he said of the riot in Dakar that led to Senegal being disqualified. ‘And this is not the police in Europe. If you go into the lion’s den in Africa you get some serious trouble.

‘When you see police trucks coming on the
pitch and all the players in the middle of the park waiting for half an
hour before we can go to the changing room and you need an escort, it
is a bit different to Sunderland v Newcastle, believe me.

‘It is a football match. But people have
nothing other than football and they put all their happiness in the
sport until it gets to a point where they get disappointed. And because
they have nothing else in their life that can bring them happiness, they
get mad.

‘It is difficult to understand. When you haven’t been to Africa you don’t know how it is. I can understand how it can affect some African players when they go home.

Not like this: The derby against Sunderland paled in comparison with the African Cup game

Not like this: The derby against Sunderland paled in comparison with the African Cup game

‘Was I scared No, not at all. Because we
are Senegalese and they are Senegalese and they won’t hurt us. Senegal
as a nation is very good and unfortunately we saw a very bad image of
them for one week but they are very good people.

‘Football can bring out the best and
worst in people. The bad side saddens me and I was more upset about the
image of the country than anything. It is just a sport and should bring
happiness, not sadness or disappointment. But unfortunately football is
so important in the life of certain people that it becomes their reason
to live.’

Of course there have been successes along the way for Ba, too. After helping Hoffenheim to get into the Bundesliga, he played 97 games for them in nearly four years and scored 37 league goals.

He has fond memories of Germany. ‘It was absolutely magnificent,’ he said. ‘Germany is one of the best countries in the world to live, the football is brilliant, all the stadiums are full every week, and the football is good. But from the beginning, for me, the target was always the Premier League. As soon as I was interested in football, that was the target. Germany has money and full stadiums, they have everything but Premier League is Premier League.’

Hammer time: Ba played well for West Ham during his time there

Hammer time: Ba played well for West Ham during his time there

Stoke City offered the first escape
route after a bust-up with Hoffenheim’s owners over his desire to move
to England, but a 7m move collapsed after he failed a medical. How he
must have savoured his hat-trick for Newcastle at the Britannia last

‘Unfortunately I
can’t stop people talking,’ he said. ‘The only thing I can do is play
every week and prove people wrong but I am not playing football to prove
people wrong.

‘Even if I play 70 games this season
and score 50 goals, people will still talk about it. I am at the point
where it doesn’t matter what they think.’

West Ham stepped in to sign him, and though he scored seven goals in 12 games, they were still relegated.

‘I still do not know how that happened,’ he said. ‘When I came we were bottom, got up to 16th and then started losing. I don’t know how. I didn’t want to leave West Ham but the desire to play in the Premier League was probably higher. After five months in the Premier League and getting the taste for something, you just want to keep it going, so I had to leave.’

No bond: Papiss Cisse (left) and Ba are not best friends despite their shared nationality

No bond: Papiss Cisse (left) and Ba are not best friends despite their shared nationality

The adventure has continued at Newcastle, although it has not all been plain sailing.

After the arrival of his Senegal team-mate Papiss Demba Cisse, who was given the coveted No 9 shirt, Ba only scored one goal, and that was in Cisse’s debut. They may share a name and frontline responsibilities, but not the goals or a close bond.

Ba added: ‘You have ups and downs, that is football. But I am happy at Newcastle and I am with a group of players who are very nice and it is good.

‘There is a good core of people. Our captain is very good as a man and player and we have the Newcastle legend Shola Ameobi. He is our big brother.’

Hugo Lloris dismisses concerns over Tottenham future

Lloris dismisses concerns over Spurs future as France No 1 prepares for qualifiers



09:06 GMT, 7 September 2012

France captain Hugo Lloris has pushed aside speculation about his prospects at his new club Tottenham as he prepares for Friday's World Cup qualifier against Finland.

Goalkeeper Lloris joined Spurs on a four-year contract last Friday for an initial 8million from Lyon, but he may struggle to claim a starting spot with manager Andre Villas-Boas vowing to keep faith with in-form veteran Brad Friedel.

Fully focused: Lloris and Deschamps talk to reporters in Helsinki on Friday

Fully focused: Lloris and Deschamps talk to reporters in Helsinki on Friday

Fully focused: Lloris and Deschamps talk to reporters in Helsinki on Friday

'I am a professional and I can put all this aside,' an unusually uncommunicative Lloris told reporters on Thursday.

'I'm only and entirely focused on France. I've played enough matches in the past to be able to manage this.

'I've heard a lot during the preparation (for France). I prepared myself for these qualifiers as well as I could with Olympique Lyon,' he added ahead of their Group I opener, which is followed by Tuesday's qualifier at home to Belarus.

High hopes: Lloris will captain France in their two upcoming World Cup qualifiers

High hopes: Lloris will captain France in their two upcoming World Cup qualifiers

High hopes: Lloris will captain France in their two upcoming World Cup qualifiers

High hopes: Lloris will captain France in their two upcoming World Cup qualifiers

Lloris played the first three games of the season with Ligue 1 club Lyon before signing for Spurs on transfer deadline day.

Villas-Boas, who took over as Tottenham manager in June, said Lloris would have to fight to dislodge Friedel, who was superb in the 1-1 draw with Norwich City last weekend.

'When you transfer it's not written in the contract that you have to play,' the Portuguese coach said.

Top performer: Lloris already has 38 caps for France

Top performer: Lloris already has 38 caps for France

'At the moment, Brad is doing extremely well. He deserves to be playing and he'll continue to do so.'

France coach Didier Deschamps said this week he did not have a problem with the situation since Lloris was not eligible to play for Spurs last weekend, but he hinted that should Lloris fail to dislodge Friedel he could lose his national team place.

'If he becomes a substitute, then we'll see,' said Deschamps.

Hatem Ben Arfa hints at Newcastle stay

Ben Arfa to stay at Newcastle… unless a 'big club' comes knocking in the summer



09:23 GMT, 8 June 2012

Hatem Ben Arfa has hinted he is likely to stay at Newcastle next season, unless a 'big club' which afforded him '100 per cent confidence' came knocking.

'If I do not have a really, really serious offer, I’ll stay,' he told French newspaper L’Equipe.

'If a big club comes, but does not offer anything interesting – that is to say, the coach really wants me – I’ll stay.

Centre of attention: The France international has hinted he'll stay at Newcastle

Centre of attention: The France international has hinted he'll stay at Newcastle

'Newcastle is a big club, even if there are bigger. I still have three years on my contract, but I know that time will pass quickly.'

The midfielder, who is currently on international duty with France, has arguably discovered his best form, after suffering a double leg fracture which was operated on in October 2010.

His career has been chequered in terms of success, however. Reported disagreements between him and starlet Karim Benzema shadowed his achievements at Lyon and he had little in the way of a break at Olympique Marseille.

Take two: A number of clubs could move for the Newcastle star this summer

Take two: A number of clubs could move for the Newcastle star this summer

During the first half of the 2010/11 campaign, despite making 15 appearances in Marseille’s first 20 games, he only played the full 90 minutes on two occasions.

Now however, the 25-year old believes he has found a home in football.
Speaking candidly about his difficult times in Ligue 1, he added: 'I’ve never felt as settled at a club as I do at Newcastle. I feel like I’m somebody important there, it’s a magnificent feeling.

'I haven’t forgotten the coach made me sign, even though I was only on loan from Marseille and I was injured.

'There were bad vibes around me [at Marseille]. I am much calmer now and I’ve addressed any problems I had myself, whereas before it was always the fault of others.

'I mostly felt a change in myself after I left Marseille. I began to realise I needed to grow up and I had been harming myself, rather than others.'

Euro 2012: Yoann Gourcuff axed from France squad

Blanc axes Lyon star Gourcuff and Montpellier's Yanga-Mbiwa from France Euro 2012 squad



10:05 GMT, 29 May 2012

France coach Laurent Blanc has dropped midfielder Yoann Gourcuff and defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa from his 23-man squad for Euro 2012.

Olympique Lyon playmaker Gourcuff had a mediocre domestic season and failed to convince in a 3-2 friendly win against Iceland on Sunday.

Montpellier centre-back and captain Yanga-Mbiwa was the other unfortunate player to miss out on the tournament.

Holiday time: Yohan Gourcuff (left) has been axed from the French squad

Holiday time: Yohan Gourcuff (left) has been axed from the French squad

Out: Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa did not make the final cut

Out: Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa did not make the final cut

The uncapped defender and Gourcuff saw the squad trimmed from 25 to 23. Earlier in the week Loic Remy and Younes Kaboul left the running for a place at the tournament because of injuries.

France are in England's group for the tournament and the two sides face each other on June 11.


Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille).

Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Philippe Mexes (Milan), Adil Rami (Valencia), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon).

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Alou Diarra (Marseille), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Marvin Martin (Sochaux), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St-Germain), Yann M'vila (Rennes), Samir Nasri (Manchester City).

Forwards: Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Jeremy Menez (Paris St-Germain), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

Euro 2012: Younes Kaboul ruled out as Laurent Blanc names provisional France squad

Spurs defender Kaboul ruled out of Euro 2012 as Blanc reveals provisional France squad



16:38 GMT, 15 May 2012

Tottenham defender Younes Kaboul has been ruled out for Euro 2012 with a knee injury as France coach Laurent Blanc also has fears over Marseille striker Loic Remy.

Kaboul aggravated an old knee problem against Fulham at the weekend while Remy sustained a thigh injury against Auxerre.

'He's [Kaboul] not fit to play in the Euro,' said Blanc, after revealing his provisional squad.

Doubt: Younes Kaboul could miss the Euros

Doubt: Younes Kaboul could miss the Euros


Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Girondins Bordeaux)
Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Philippe Mexes (AC Milan), Adil Rami (Valencia), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Anthony Reveillere (Olympique Lyon), Mapou Yanga Mbiwa (Montpellier)
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Samir Nasri (Manchester City), Alou Diarra (Olympique Marseille), Yann Mvila (Stade Rennes), Yoann Gourcuff (Olympique Lyon), Marvin Martin (Sochaux), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St Germain)
Forwards: Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Jeremy Menez (Paris St Germain), Loic Remy (Olympique Marseille), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille).

The Former World Cup winner called up playmaker Yoann Gourcuff when he completed his preliminary squad for the European Championship finals with a set of home-based players on Tuesday.

The Lyon midfielder has had a mediocre season and has not featured in a France game since a 0-0 friendly draw against Croatia in March 2011 but he is, according to Blanc, the only proper playmaker.

Blanc also named Remy in the 26-man squad although the Olympique Marseille striker was ruled out of action for up to four weeks with a thigh injury on Monday.

Crocked: Remy receives treatment against Auxerre

Crocked: Remy receives treatment against Auxerre

'His chances of taking part in the competition are very slim,' admitted ex-Manchester United defender Blanc.

Blanc has until May 29 to name his final, 23-man squad.

France are drawn in Group D with England, co-hosts Ukraine and Sweden.

Football players dying on the pitch

Muamba incident brings back memories of these footballing tragedies



01:00 GMT, 18 March 2012

The desperate scenes on Saturday night at White Hart Lane brought back memories of footballing tragedies when players died on the pitch.

Marc-Vivien Foe – June 2003

Marc-Vivien Foe June 2003 Cameroon midfielder Marc- Vivien Foe died after collapsing with a heart attack during an international match in France.

The 28-yearold fell to the ground unchallenged in the 72nd minute of a Confederations Cup semifinal against Colombia in Lyon.

Respect: Marc-Vivien Foe was honoured

Respect: Marc-Vivien Foe was honoured

He was treated on the pitch before being carried off and receiving further treatment, including mouthto- mouth resuscitation and extra oxygen.

Foe had spent the previous season on loan at Manchester City from French club Olympique Lyon and also played for RC Lens.

Medical staff tried to restart his heart for 45 minutes but without success.

Phil O'Donnell – December 2007

Motherwell captain Phil O'Donnell died after collapsing suffering a cardiac arrest towards the end of his side's Scottish Premier League game against Dundee United.

The 35-year-old fell to the ground just as he was about to be replaced with Marc Fitzpatrick near the end of Motherwell's 5-3 victory.

O'Donnell was treated for about five minutes on the field before being taken to a waiting ambulance.

But his death was later confirmed by the club.



Remembered: A tribute to Phil O'Donnell (left) and Daniel Jarque (right)

Daniel Jarque – August 2009

Espanyol captain Daniel Jarque died after a cardiac arrest following training.

The 26-yearold midfielder had been training in Coverciano, Italy, where his club's squad were on a preseason camp.

Club doctors and Italian paramedics tried to revive Jarque using CPR and a defibrillator, without success.

His death came two years after Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta, 22, died of heart failure after collapsing during a league game.