There were heartwarming scenes at France’s training camp as their players and staff joined in congratulating N’Golo Kante, Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud on their Champions League victory with Chelsea on Tuesday.
Kante has recently been in scintillating form for both club and country and helped Chelsea defeat Man City with a superb display in midfield as Kai Havertz’s goal steered the blues to European glory in Porto last week.
Zouma and Giroud were unused substitutes in Porto but their displays across Chelsea’s European and domestic season were enough to see them included in the 26-man squad for France when it was announced last month.
The Chelsea trio will be desperate to impress ahead of this summer’s Euros, where Les Blues have been placed in what has been described as the ‘group of death’ along with Portugal, Germany and Hungary.
France have been preparing for the first of their two warm-up games against Wales this evening and Kante, Zouma and Giroud were seen reporting for duty on Tuesday.
Following their late arrival, France’s Chelsea contingent are unlikely to play in Nice but their popularity within Deschamps’ party was evident as they were reunited with their team-mates.
There were warm embraces and handshakes all round as the Chelsea stars were applauded on their efforts in the Champions League, with Karim Benzema, Presnel Kimpembe, Griezmann and Pavard passing on their congratulations.
Nos 3 vainqueurs de la Champions League avec Chelsea ont rejoint l’équipe ! 👏
— Equipe de France ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) June 1, 2021
Deschamps was seen interrupting Zouma’s catch-up with Moussa Sissoko to give the player a giant hug.
Speaking to French publication RMC this week, Deschamps hailed Kante as a ‘very, very great player’ but played down his Ballon d’Or prospects because of his playing style.
France squad congratulate Chelsea trio Kante, Zouma and Giroud as they report for training
‘Kante remains a very, very great player who potentially deserves this award,’ the France manager said. ‘I do not know if it is accessible for a player who is not creative, who does not score much.
‘He can score a few goals and put together a few assists but as a general rule… ‘It has happened, there was Fabio Cannavaro or others back then, like Matthis Sammer.
‘But as a general role, in the majority of cases, it is attributed to a creative player.’