Eric Abidal earns France recall
New Monaco captain Eric Abidal has earned a recall to the French national squad while Sevilla midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has been called up for the first time.
Both players have been named in Didier Deschamps’ 23-man squad to take on Belgium in Brussels next Wednesday.
Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri returns for the first time since Euro 2012 after he withdrew from France’s summer tour of South America.
Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba are suspended for France’s next World Cup qualifier against Georgia in September and they have all been left of the squad for next week’s match.
Abidal, 33, won the last of his 61 caps for France in a 2-1 friendly win over Germany in Bremen on February 29, 2012. The defender received a liver transplant in April of that year but, after bravely fighting his way back to action, he was released by Barcelona when his contract expired this summer.
The former Lille player signed for Monaco last month, however, and immediately targeted a return to the national team. On Thursday he was given a vote of confidence by Deschamps, who said he had called upon Abidal because Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane is injured and out-of-favour PSG defender Mamadou Sakho had seen little action of late.
“Having discussed it with him for a very long time, I decided to recall him,” the former Marseille coach said. “You know about his history, his arrival at Monaco and how he’s done in their friendly matches.
“Abidal has stayed competitive and he has a deep and strong desire to represent his country.”
Kondobgia, 20, has earned his first call up to the senior team on the back of helping France win the Under-20 World Cup last month.
“He had a very good season with Sevilla and he was good for the Under-20s at the World Cup in Turkey,” Deschamps said. “He has the potential to be a future international. This is a chance for him to discover the senior side.”
French squad to face Belgium in Brussels on August 14:
Goalkeepers: Lloris (Tottenham), Mandanda (Marseille), Landreau (Bastia)
Defenders: Debuchy (Newcastle), Abidal (Monaco), Mangala (Porto), Rami (Valencia), Clichy (Manchester City), Evra (Manchester United), Sagna (Arsenal), Koscielny (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Guilavogui (Saint-Etienne), Kondogbia (Sevilla), Mavuba (Lille), Capoue (Toulouse), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle), Grenier (Lyon).
Attackers: Ribéry (Bayern Munich), Valbuena (Marseille), Payet (Marseille) Nasri (Manchester City), Benzema (Real Madrid), Giroud (Arsenal)