Eric Abidal’s remarkable return to fitness following surgery on a liver tumour was today rewarded with a recall to the France national side.
The Barcelona defender, who could feature in Saturday’s Champions League final against Manchester United just weeks after returning to action, has been named in coach Laurent Blanc’s 26-man selection for the Euro 2012 qualifier in Belarus on June 3 and the friendly double-header against the continental tournament’s co-hosts, Ukraine and Poland.
“I left him a message about 10 days ago to say I was really happy to see him back on the pitch,” Blanc said of Abidal.
“Hopefully he will be given a starting spot, he is coming back to form.
“He will be delighted to return to the squad and he can bid for a start at left-back.
“It’s amazing what he has already achieved.”
Elsewhere, there was a first call-up for Sochaux midfielder Marvin Martin, while Wigan forward Charles N’Zogbia was recalled to the selection for the first time in nine months, joining fellow Barclays Premier League stars Patrice Evra, Younes Kaboul, Bacary Sagna, Abou Diaby, Samir Nasri and Florent Malouda.
France lead the way in Euro 2012 qualifying Group D after four wins from five games. Their only defeat came against Belarus in Paris during the opening round of fixtures in September.
They will hope to repay the favour by winning in Minsk on Friday week, before heading off to face Ukraine in Donetsk on June 6 and Poland in Warsaw three days later.
Squad: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille); Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Younes Kaboul (Tottenham), Adil Rami (Lille), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Paris St Germain); Yohan Cabaye (Lille), Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Samir Nasri (Arsenal), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (St Etienne), Marvin Martin (Sochaux); Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kevin Gameiro (Lorient), Guillaume Hoarau (Paris St Germain), Jeremy Menez (Roma), Charles N’Zogbia (Wigan), Loic Remy (Marseille), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille).