Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – France’s World Cup winner Marcel Desailly is worried about security for Euro 2016 after the deadly attacks on Paris last November.
“Of course, there is a little fear,” the 1998 World Cup winner and Euro 2000 champion told AFP.
“Because of the level of security, we hope nothing will happen, but it’s a very difficult thing to be able to check everyone.
“It’s not just the stadiums, it can happen anywhere in any city.”
His comments came amid a new scare over security breaches at the Stade de France in Paris during the French Cup final on Saturday.
The stadium, which will host the opening match on June 10 plus the July 10 final, was targeted by suicide bombers during the November 13 attacks that left 130 dead.
Desailly, a key member of the side that won the 1998 World Cup final in the stadium, said he hopes France can win the European championships on home soil to lift the whole country.
“If France win the title, it will boost more than just football, it will boost the economy, it will boost the hope,” said the 47-year-old.
“People are quite sad, life is difficult and football will bring some smiles to the faces, like we did in 2000 and 1998.”
The former Chelsea and AC Milan defender hopes Didier Deschamps’ squad can win a third European crown after their 1984 and 2000 triumphs.
– ‘A big blow’ –
Desailly said the absence of experienced striker Karim Benzema could hurt France, but they have the talent to cope.
Benzema was suspended by France in December because of his alleged role in an attempt to blackmail ‘Les Bleus’ teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex-tape.
Desailly said it is now up to Olivier Giroud and Andre-Pierre Gignac to support Atletico Madrid’s in-form forward Antoine Griezmann.
“Yes, it hurts France, because he (Benzema) is a very good player, he’s a point of reference at the front of the attack for France, so it’s a big blow,” said Desailly.
“Didier will still play a 4-3-3, but he just has to hope a player like Griezmann will show up well to allow France to win the games.”
Desailly compared the French squad to where world champions Germany were six years ago before beginning their rise to the 2014 World Cup crown.
“Didier Deschamps has a very, very good generation of players, you can see the talent is there,” said Desailly.