Sunday, 14 Apr 2024

The Greatest French Soccer Players of All Time

famous french soccer players

With two World Cups in the National Trophy Cabinet, France is Le Foot (AKA soccer) royalty. Many talented players have donned the iconic blue jersey of Les Bleus, etching their names in football history. Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 most famous French soccer players to grace the beautiful game.

Kylian Mbappé

Kylian Mbappé

Striker, played 73 times for France (2017-)

Born the same year France won their first FIFA World Cup in 1998, Kylian Mbappé Lottin is the hottest player in France and a fast-emerging global superstar. Placed third in the 2023 Ballon d’Or, Mbappé’s precocious talent shone brightly during the 2018 World Cup, where he scored four goals and was named the tournament’s best young player. Currently captaining both the French national team and Paris Saint-Germain F.C., Mbappé is widely seen as the heir apparent to the legendary Lionel Messi.

Zinédine Zidane

Midfielder, played 108 times for France (1994-2006)

Zinédine Zidane, affectionately known as Zizou, secured his place in French soccer history by leading Les Bleus to their first World Cup victory in 1998. His mesmerizing skills on the field, including two goals in the final match, earned him the coveted ‘Man of the Match’ award. Although he is also remembered for his infamous headbutt in the 2006 World Cup Final, Zidane’s contributions to the sport as a French soccer icon cannot be denied.

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Michel Platini

Midfielder, played 72 times for France (1976-1986)

Considered one of the most talented French soccer players of all time, Michel Platini’s skills and accomplishments speak for themselves. Winner of the Ballon d’Or three times, Platini captained France to victory in the 1984 European Championship. His success extended beyond the international stage, as he achieved multiple domestic and European trophies while playing for Italian giants Juventus. Although his career took a controversial turn due to corruption allegations, Platini’s influence on and off the field remains undeniable.


Who is the greatest French soccer player of all time?

While opinions may vary, many regard Michel Platini as the greatest French soccer player of all time due to his immense talent, numerous accolades, and impact on the game.

Did Kylian Mbappé win the World Cup?

Yes, Kylian Mbappé played a significant role in France’s victorious 2018 World Cup campaign, where he scored four goals and was instrumental in their success.

Didier Deschamps

Midfielder, played 103 times for France (1989-2000)

Didier Deschamps, known as “the water carrier” for his selfless defensive work, captained the French national team to both the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship. Deschamps’ leadership skills extended beyond his playing career, as he went on to manage the national team, guiding them to victory in the 2018 World Cup.

Eric Cantona

Forward, played 45 times for France (1987-1995)

Eric Cantona is not just famous for his footballing prowess; he became an enigmatic figure both on and off the field. Known for his unique playing style and whimsical philosophical observations, Cantona made a lasting impact during his time at Manchester United. His contributions to French soccer include captaining the national team, appearing in movies, and leading France’s beach soccer team to World Cup glory in 2005.

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Thierry Henry

Striker, played 123 times for France (1997-2010)

Thierry Henry’s electrifying performances on the pitch and charismatic personality off it made him a staple of French and international soccer. As France’s second-most-capped player and all-time leading goalscorer, Henry achieved great success with Arsenal and was part of the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship-winning squads.

Raymond Kopa

Forward, played 45 times for France (1952-62)

Raymond Kopa, considered the most gifted French soccer player of his generation, showcased his skills during the 1950s. Winning three European Cups with Real Madrid and earning the Ballon d’Or in 1958, Kopa has always been in the conversation for the title of the greatest French soccer player ever.

Patrick Vieira

Midfielder, played 107 times for France (1997-2009)

Patrick Vieira, another member of the illustrious 1998 French football team, is admired for his uncompromising style of play. A key figure in Arsenal’s success, Vieira went on to become a club legend and is currently managing Strasbourg in France’s top league.

Franck Ribéry

Winger, played 81 times for France (2006-2014)

Known for his dynamic forward style, speed, and pinpoint passing, Franck Ribéry was one of France’s most complete players. A multiple award winner in France and Germany, Ribéry enjoyed great success with Bayern Munich, including a Champions League title in 2013.

Marcel Desailly

Center-back/midfielder, played 116 times for France (1993-2004)

Marcel Desailly, nicknamed “The Rock,” was an integral part of the French teams that won the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship. Regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, Desailly’s contributions to France’s golden era of football cannot be overlooked.

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France has produced a wealth of exceptional soccer talent over the years, with these players etching their names in the history books. From the current superstar Kylian Mbappé to legends like Zinédine Zidane and Michel Platini, these French soccer players have left an indelible mark on the sport. As the legacy of French football continues to evolve, it is these names that will forever be remembered as the greatest to have graced the game.