France is one of the most successful footballing nations in the world. The French are considered crème de la crème( the very best) in the sport. They have won 2 world cups, 2 European Championships and 1 Olympic medal in football which speaks about their success. Winning all this requires the best players, of which France has produced countless. Here are the 10 greatest French footballers.
1. Zinedine Zidane
Undoubtedly, Zidane is the best French football player and one of the greatest football players of all time. He has won numerous individual and team titles, which as well as his outstanding skills on the field make him a legendary player. He has played 108 matches for the French and scored 31 goals. He has led Real Madrid to 2 La Liga titles and 3 consecutive champion leagues. In 1998 Zidane won the Ballon d'Or. His trophy cabinets include 2 Serie A titles, one intercontinental cup, one Italian super cup as well as UEFA Cup with the Juventus.
2. Michael Platini
Michel Platini is a French former football player, manager and administrator who played as an attacking midfielder. He played for Nancy, Saint Etienne and Juventus. Platini is the second-best French soccer player ever. In his career, he has scored 104 goals in 223 appearances for Juventus and won 2 Serie A titles, one European champion clubs’ cup, one Italian Cup, one UEFA Super Cup and the intercontinental cup. From 1983 to 1985 Platini has won 3 consecutive Ballon d'Ors Platini led France to their first-ever European championship in 1984 by scoring 9 goals in the tournament. He has played for France 72 times scoring 41 goals.
3. Thierry Henry
Henry is considered one of the greatest French footballers of all time. He was one of the best strikers of all time. He made his debut with Monaco and joined Juventus later on. However, his turning point was joining Arsenal in 1999, where he became the club’s all-time leading scorer and assist provider with 228 goals and 104 assists in 376 matches. Henry is the leading top scorer in France's national team with 51 goals in 124 appearances. He was a part of the French national side that won the 1998 World Cup and EURO 2000. After retirement, he has managed AS Monaco and Canadian side Montreal Impact.
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4. Didier Deschamps
Didier Claude Deschamps was a defensive midfielder who played for Nantes, Marseille, Bordeaux, Juventus, Chelsea, and Valencia. He was a part of the Marseille’s European championship in 1993, as well as winning three French league titles with that club. When he was playing for Juventus he won one more UEFA champions league three Italian leagues, two Italian Super Cups, one Italian Cup and one UEFA Super Cup. After joining Chelsea in 1999 he won one English FA cup and one English super cup. Deschamps has played in 104 matches for France's national team and scored 4 goals. Didier Deschamps is one of the only 3 players to win the World Cup both as a player and as a manager by leading France's national team in the 2018 World Cup.
5. Lillian Thurram
Lillian is the most admired defender in the history of French football. He was a versatile player with the ability to play as either a right-back or a center-back. He is the most capped player for France's national team with 142 caps. He was a part of the winning 1998 world championships and the UEFA championship in 2000. He also featured in the 2006 world cup where they finished as runner ups.
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6. Jean Pierre Papin
Papin played as a striker/ forward for many great clubs like Marseille, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, and Bordeaux. He scored an amazing number of 174 goals in 265 appearances for Marseille and helped the club secure four League 1 and one French Cup trophy. He has won a UEFA Champions League title with AC Milan as well as two Serie A trophies and one Italian Super Cup. He won the Ballon d’Or in 1991. He is a manager now and has managed French teams like Lens, Chateauroux, and Strasbourg.
7. Raymond Kopa
Raymond Kopa was an attacking midfielder who played in the 1950s. He played for teams like Reims, and Real Madrid. He has won 3 European Champions Cups with Real Madrid from 1957 to 1959, as well as 2 La Ligas with the Spanish club. He made 46 appearances for the French national team, including taking part in two World Cups, and has scored 18 goals. Due to his astonishing performances with Real Madrid, he won Ballon d'Or in 1958.
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8. Just Fountaine
Just Fountaine played in the 1950s and 60s. He played as a striker for OGC Nice and Reims. He has won the League 1 title four times, three of which were with Stade Reims and one with OGC Nice. He has scored 30 goals in 21 matches for France. He holds the unique record of scoring the most goals in a single FIFA World Cup tournament, scoring 13 goals in only 6 matches in 1958.
9. Laurent Blanc
Laurent Blanc was a centre-back who has played for numerous prominent clubs such as Barcelona, Napoli, Inter Milan, and Manchester United. He has played for his country in many international tournaments. Blanc has won many awards and titles. He was named the French footballer of the year in 1990. He has won a La Liga title and a Spanish Super Cup with Barcelona, one Premier League title with Manchester United. Blanc has played a total of 470 matches for his clubs and has scored 71 goals. He has played 97 times for France and won the 1998 World Cup as well as Euro 2000 with them. He will always be regarded as one of the best French footballers of all time by his fans.
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10. Marcel Desailly
Marcel Desailly had a luminous 20-year long career with his clubs and France national team. He could play both as a centre-back and a defensive midfielder. The legendary player is one of the players who have won the UEFA Champions leagues for two consecutive years with two different clubs. Desailly is one of the greatest French footballers of all time and was a part of the French team which won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000. He has made 116 appearances for his national team.
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