International Wanderers: France

In this feature, we’re going to profile those players who played for Wanderers and represented their country on the international stage. There have been many players from all over the world who have achieved this feat, and today we’re going to focus on those represented France.

Nicolas Anelka

Regarded by many Wanderers supporters as one of the best strikers to have ever played for the football club, Nicolas Anelka enjoyed an outstanding career playing for some of the biggest clubs in World Football.

Starting out with Paris Saint Germain, Anelka came to England early on in his professional career to sign for Arsenal and spent two and-a-half years with the club before a move to Real Madrid in 1999 for a fee of £23 Million.

Capped 69 times for the French national team between 1998 and 2010, the forward scored 14 times for his country and made his senior debut shortly before the 1998 FIFA World Cup in a friendly draw against Sweden. Not selected for the tournament, Anelka was established as the first choice striker by the time the European Championships came around in 2000.

Losing his place in the national team, he returned to the squad for the European Championships in 2008 but after a fall out with Head Coach Raymond Domenech, he was suspended by the national team and eventually retired in 2010.

At club level, after leaving Real Madrid in 2000, he returned to Paris Saint Germain and shortly after a loan spell with Liverpool, he signed for Manchester City in 2002. Following two and-a-half years back in England, he signed for Fenerbahce in Turkey but returned to England once more to sign for Bolton Wanderers in August 2006 for £8 Million.

Managing 23 goals in 61 appearances for the club, he earned a move to Chelsea in January 2008 and after four years at Stamford Bridge, he went onto spend time with Shanghai Shenhua, Juventus, West Bromwich Albion and Mumbai City.

Ibrahim Ba

Born in Senegal, Ba represented France on eight occasions between 1997 and 1998. Winning the Serie A and UEFA Champions League during his time with AC Milan, Ba had succeeded in France with Le Havre and Bordeaux before his move to Italy.

Following six years at the San Siro, the midfielder signed for Bolton Wanderers in September 2003 and went onto make 16 appearances for the club during the 2003/04 season. Making his debut in a Carling Cup victory against Walsall, his final game for Sam Allardyce’s side came in a 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea in March 2004.

After leaving Bolton, Ba went onto sign for Turkish side Caykur Rizespor and Swedish side Djugarden before a return to AC Milan in 2007. Making just one appearance for the club during the 2007/08 season, he retired from playing shortly afterwards and went onto become a Scout for AC Milan in Africa.

Vincent Candela

A full-back who earned 40 caps for the France National Team between 1996 and 2002, Candela played at FIFA World Cups in 1998 and 2002 as well as at the European Championships in 2000. In two out of three tournaments he played in, his country lifted the ultimate silverware.

Beginning his professional career with Toulouse in 1991, he spent a couple of years with Guingamp (1995-1997) before a move to Italy to sign for Roma in 1997. Eight and-a-half years were spent in the Italian capital and he made around 250 appearances for the club before signing for Bolton Wanderers in January 2005.

At the start of the 2004/05 season he was playing in a UEFA Champions League double header against Real Madrid and by the end of the campaign, he had become a regular in the Bolton team. Making his debut in an away defeat at Newcastle United, his final game for the club came in a 3-2 home victory against Everton at the Reebok Stadium.

Candela went onto play for Udinese and Siena before his retirement in 2007.

Martin Djetou

Born in the Ivory Coast, Djetou is one of many African-born footballers to represent France on the international stage. The central defender began his professional career with Strasbourg in 1992 and remained at the club until a move to Monaco in 1996.

Part of the preliminary 28-man squad for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, he was one of six players axed from the squad by Head Coach Aime Jacquet before the tournament began. He would earn six caps between 1996 and 2000.

Leaving France to sign for Parma in 2001, Djetou spent four years under contract with the club although he had a two-year loan spell in England with Fulham before being allowed to sign for Nice on a permanent basis in 2005.

Signing for Bolton Wanderers in October 2005, he made five appearances during the 2005/06 campaign, but following a goalless draw at Sunderland on Boxing Day of 2005 he never made another appearance for the club and retuned to France to sign for Istres.

Youri Djorkaeff

Regarded as one of the most talented players to play for Bolton Wanderers, Djorkaeff will forever be remembered by French football fans for the part he played in helping his nation to lift the World Cup in Paris in 1998 and then the European Championships two years later. 

Earning his first cap in 1993, the attacking midfielder went onto amass 82 appearances scoring 28 times before his final appearance for the National Team in 2002. Setting up one of Zinedine Zidane’s two goals in the World Cup Final victory against Brazil in 1998, Djorkaeff also featured at the European Championships in 1996 and 2000 as well as the World Cup in 2002.

At club level, he started out with Grenoble and went onto play for fellow French clubs Strasbourg, Monaco and Paris Saint Germain before a move to Italy to sign for Inter Milan in 1996. After three years in Milan, Djorkaeff signed for German side Kaiserslautern in 1999 before a February 2002 move to Bolton Wanderers.

Spending two and-a-half years with the club, he made 81 appearances (21 goals) before spending a short amount of time with Blackburn Rovers. Currently CEO of the FIFA Foundation, Djorkaeff finished his playing career with New York Red Bulls in the United States.

Bernard Mendy

Bernard Mendy spent the 2002/03 season on loan at Bolton Wanderers from Paris Saint German and he made a total of 23 appearances for the club. Establishing himself in the French capital, after starting his professional career with Caen, Mendy returned to England in 2008 to sign for Hull City.

Earning a total of four caps for the French National Team, all four of those came in 2004 with his debut coming against Brazil.

Leaving Hull City in May 2010 after 56 appearances (2 goals) for the club, he had a spell in Denmark with Odense Boldklub before returning to France to sign for Brest in 2012.

As well as a spell in Cyprus with AEL, Mendy also spent time playing in India with Chennai and East Bengal prior to his retirement in 2016.

Bruno N’Gotty

An imposing central defender who was a favourite amongst Wanderers supporters, N'Gotty joined the club in January 2002 on a permanent basis after a successful loan stint from Marseille.

Making a total of 172 appearances (7 goals) for Bolton, he eventually signed for Birmingham City on a free transfer in July 2006 and had spells with Leicester City and Hereford United.

His debut for the French National Team came against the Czech Republic in August 1994 and it was the same day Zinedine Zidane and Lilian Thuram debuted for their country too. N’Gotty earned six caps in total between 1994 and 1997.

Prior to signing for Marseille in 2000, he had spent time in Italy with AC Milan and also in France with Lyon and Paris Saint Germain. He made 237 league appearances for Lyon between 1988 and 1995.

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