Fellow midfielder Youri Djorkaeff's roots lay in Armenia, while the defence was founded on the black backbone of Marcel Desailly and Lilian Thuram.
Now, four years after that triumph at the Stade de France, the success of far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen in the French presidential elections has cast a shadow over the dream of a rainbow nation, according to Pierre Minesse of French sports daily L'Equipe.
"We said of the team that it was 'black, blanc and beurs', meaning it was made up of blacks, whites and people of Arabic descent," he told BBC Sport Online.
"There was hope after the World Cup and Euro 2000 wins.
"A lot of people thought it was the best thing for good race relations in France, and good for issues of immigration.
"These election results give another answer. They show that sport and politics are not the same thing.
"The example of the team has maybe stayed only an example. People have made a distinction between sport and their personal lives."
Disaster for national team
Minesse, who is close to several members of the French squad, believes the heroes of 1998 will be deeply upset by Le Pen's shock success.