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01.07.2007 14:17

Record number of French internationals at Barça

Vanessa Forns

After signing Éric Abidal, FC Barcelona now has four French internationals on the books, Thuram, Henry, Abidal and Giuly. There have never been so many French players in the squad.

QM3D5965.JPGThierry Henry and Éric Abidal are the latest French incorporations to the team, and the four players are all internationals with Les Bleus. Lilian Thuram, Thierry Henry, Éric Abidal and Ludovic Giuly have all worn the famous jersey in the past, although the latter of those four was surprisingly omitted from the squad that went to the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Previous record just two

There have only ever been a maximum of two French internationals at FC Barcelona, a situation that has occurred three times in the past. The first time was the 2000-01 season, when both Richard Dutruel and Emmanuel Petit were at the Camp Nou playing under Llorenç Serra Ferrer. Philippe Christanval joined the season after, while goalkeeper Richard Dutruel was still in the side. Dutruel only ever got one cap for France, in 2004 when he kept goal in a 1-1 draw with Cameroon.

fcb-ath.-giuly..._x3x.jpgThere were also two French players last season. Thuram came to Barça from Juventus, while Ludovic Giuly was already here. Both players were in the Confederations Cup winning French squad of 2002-03.

Quality arrivals

Last season Frank Rijkaard strengthened his defence with one of the most established players on the international scene in Lilian Thuram, and now he has added another French defender and two of the world’s greatest forwards, Éric Abidal and Thierry Henry. These are three of the finest players in the country, and all formed part of the French squad in last year’s World Cup that went all the way to final, putting out the likes of Spain and Brazil on the way. The final ended in disappointment, France losing to Italy on penalties.

863021652.jpgHenry and Thuram have both been involved in France’s finest era ever, winning the 1998 World Cup, the 2000 European Championship, and the 2003 and 2005 Confederations Cups.
Record number of French internationals at Barça
French language to feature prominently
All three of the new signings Thierry Henry, Yayá Touré and Éric Abidal are from French speaking backgrounds, and they will be joining Frenchmen Thuram and Giuly, plus Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o, while Rafa Márquez, José Edmílson and Ronaldinho have all spent time in the French league. Márquez came to Barça from AS Monaco, Ronaldinho from PSG and Edmílson from Olympique Lyon.

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