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Diarra makes France squad return

Lassana Diarra was handed a recall to the France squad on Thursday, more than five years since he made his last appearance.

The midfielder joined Marseille in July and has turned in a number of outstanding performances to catch the eye of Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps.

The call-up completes a remarkable upturn in former Real Madrid star Diarra's fortunes after he was left without a club last season following a contract dispute at Lokomotiv Moscow. His last France cap came against Norway in August 2010. 

The challenge now for the 30-year-old is to force his way into the France squad for next year's European Championship, a tournament they are hosting, and strong performances against Armenia on October 8 and Denmark three days later will certainly help his cause.

Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was also included by Deschamps but there is no place for winger Hatem Ben Arfa despite his fine form for Nice.

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (Villarreal), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Patrice Evra (Juventus), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Benoit Tremoulinas (Bordeaux), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Lassana Diarra (Marseille), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Paul-Georges Ntep (Rennes), Mathieu Valbuena (Lyon)