By FRANCO PANIZO
France national team head coach Laurent Blanc has rounded out the preliminary roster for this summer's Euro 2012, and Les Bleus look as deep a team as any.
Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery, Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri and Patrice Evra of Manchester United headline a 26-man roster that Blanc will need to trim down to 23 by May 29. One player who was left off the roster is Tottenham Hotspur centerback Younes Kaboul, who has been ruled out with a knee injury.
France will take on England, Sweden and co-hosts Ukraine in Group D of this summer's prolific tournament.
Here is the roster:
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Girondins Bordeaux).
Defenders: Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Philippe Mexes (AC Milan), Adil Rami (Valencia), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Anthony Reveillere (Olympique Lyon), Mapou Yanga Mbiwa (Montpellier).
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Samir Nasri (Manchester City), Alou Diarra (Olympique Marseille), Yann M'Vila (Stade Rennes), Yoann Gourcuff (Olympique Lyon), Marvin Martin (Sochaux), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain).
Forwards: Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle United), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Jeremy Menez (Paris Saint-Germain), Loic Remy (Olympique Marseille), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille).
Here are more stories from around the soccer world:
DEL PIERO WELCOMES PREMIER LEAGUE CHALLENGE
The next chapter in Alessandro Del Piero's career could see him plying his trade in England. The Juventus attacker is set to become a free agent this summer, and he has revealed that playing in the Premiership is intriguing to him. Del Piero, who has spent the last 19 years with Juventus, has already been linked with Arsenal, Queens Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur.
GATTUSO OPEN TO RANGERS RETURN
Rangers might be going through difficult times right now, but that has not stopped Gennaro Gattuso from wanting to return to the Scottish powerhouse. The 34-year-old Gattuso, who is now a free agent after leaving AC Milan, said he is open to returning to Rangers for the next phase of his career but admitted he has other options. Gattuso previously spent 12 months with Rangers from 1997-1998.
PRANDELLI TO STAY WITH ITALY AFTER EUROS
Talk about job security. The Italian soccer federation has said it plans to keep head coach Cesare Prandelli in charge of the Azzurri after Euro 2012 no matter how the team fares. Prandelli, who signed a four-year deal in 2010, is looking to guide Italy out of a tough Group C that includes Spain, Croatia and Ireland.
What do you think of France's preliminary roster? Would you like to see Del Piero in the Premiership? Think Gattuso will return to Rangers?
Share your thoughts below.