Marcel Desailly backs Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konaté to become the best-ever France centre-backs

France footballing great Marcel Desailly has backed international defenders Dayot Upamecano (24) and Ibrahima Konaté (23) to become the best centre-backs Les Bleus have ever had. In a column for L’Équipe, the 1998 World Cup winner has given his opinion on the pair that is expected to start for France tonight as they take on The Netherlands to kick off their qualifying campaign for Euro 2024. According to Desailly, Upamecano is in line to follow in the footsteps of Raphaël Varane as the defensive leader of Les Bleus.Upamecano, who took a long time in settling in this France’s team, should be the boss Varane used to be at a time, regarding the intensity and his task at defending the back-line. Dayot has something more compared to others.

Desailly, a back-to-back Champions League winner with Marseille (1993) and Milan (1994), has warned the Bayern Munich and Liverpool defenders to avoid complacency. “They’re so level-headed and calm but they must improve on falling back defensively and have humility.” Desailly assesses that if Upamecano and Konaté can consistently keep that extra yard to block their opponent, they may go on to become the greatest centre-backs Les Bleus have ever seen. Which is saying something for a national team packed with legendary players such as Marius Trésor, Laurent Blanc, Desailly himself, Lilian Thuram or Varane. “Their time is now, I’m convinced. I’m so proud when I watch them that my eyes light up !

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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