he last time Didier Deschamps led his c tr at a ma r als h me s il the re ch ma ished the t r ame t hoisting aloft the World Cup inside the Stade de France. As captain of the French side of 1998, Deschamps helped make history alongside the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Fabien Barthez and Marcel Desailly. Now he returns to the scene of such ecstasy as head coach. With such special St Denis memories dampened by last November’s terrorist attacks on Paris that will inevitably play on the minds of supporters, emotions will be running high for the French side.
arim Benzema, the proli c eal Ma drid forward, has already been told he is not welcome in the France set up as he continues to be investigated for his part in an alleged plot to blackmail interna tional teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
Meanwhile, Franck ibery, the Bayern Munich winger who retired after the 2014 World Cup, continues to ponder whether he is willing to return to the fold. Yet a new promising generation of talents com plementing the more e perienced gures of Hugo Lloris, Laurent Koscielny and Morgan Schneiderlin have the ability to bring oie de vivre back to Les Bleus with out the need for Benzema or ibery. Paul Pogba, the 2 year old uventus mid elder already being spoken of as the player most likely to break the world transfer record, is a phenomenal athlete in the mould of Patrick Vieira but with the deft touches, sublime skills and eye for goal of Zidane. Striker Anthony Mar tial is fast with two good feet, both of which have remained rmly on the ground despite Manchester United spending £36 million last summer on a 19 year old who had made just a handful of games for Monaco. And in Anthony Griezmann, Ale andre Lacazette and aphael Varane, they have three players on the cusp of entering the bracket of best in the world. Add to that late bloomers in the form of Dimitri Payet of West Ham and N’Golo Kante of Leicester City and France have potential.
“We must remain humble, but we have the ambition to go as far as possible,” said Deschamps, who knows he has all the ingredients to nish the summer lifting a trophy in the Stade de France once again.