Pogba, Evra named in France squad despite Champions League final
France coach Didier Deschamps has included Champions League finalists Paul Pogba and Patrice Evra, as well as Paul-Georges Ntep, in his squad for the upcoming international friendlies.
Pogba, 22, and Evra, 34, will likely feature for Juventus against Barcelona at Berlin's Olympiastadion on June 6 when the two clubs fight it out to be crowned champions of Europe.
With France due to play Belgium in Paris the following day, the pair will miss that encounter, but could face Albania on June 13 after being named in Deschamps' 24-man squad.
"It wasn't at all a difficult choice," Deschamps told reporters at Thursday's news conference at French Football Federation headquarters in Paris. "I consider the France team above everything else. It's to enjoy themselves that they will come for the second game against Albania."
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is missing with a thigh injury, while Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin and Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma are both sidelined with a knee problem. Arsenal full-back Mathieu Debuchy is also absent due to a hamstring injury.
After missing the friendlies with Brazil and Denmark in March through injury, goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris returns, while there is a maiden call-up for Rennes' promising attacking midfielder Ntep, who has been linked with Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.
"He's a young player with a different profile with his pace and his ability to pierce opposing defences," Deschamps said of the 22-year-old, who has provided nine goals and six assists for Rennes in Ligue 1 this season.
"A lot of attacking players play more and more centrally. He's different because he plays out wide. He does some great things with Rennes, and has a lot of room for improvement. It's going to be an opportunity for him to come into the France squad and for me to see him on the training pitch and undoubtedly in games. The door is always open."
That does not appear to be the case for Andre-Pierre Gignac, however, with the Marseille forward absent despite having scored 21 goals in Ligue 1 this season.
After making his senior international debut in March's friendly against Brazil, Nabil Fekir is retained despite a late-season dip in form, while Lyon teammate and Ligue 1 leading scorer Alexandre Lacazette is also included again.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Stephane Ruffier (St Etienne).
Defenders: Patrice Evra (Juventus), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Benoit Tremoulinas (Sevilla), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool).
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (PSG), Blaise Matuidi (PSG), Maxime Gonalons (Lyon), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Geoffrey Kondogbia (Monaco) Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle).
Forwards: Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Paul-Georges Ntep (Rennes), Mathieu Valbuena (Dinamo Moscow), Nabil Fekir (Lyon).