Wearing the traditional colours of blue, white and red, the colours of French national flag, they are colloquially known as Les Bleus (the Blues). France national team played their first official match in 1904. Since then the national team won one FIFA World cup title, two UEFA European Football Championships, one Olympic tournament and two FIFA Confederation Cups. Currently they are holding 19th position in FIFA ranking. There are so many prominent French footballers holding their glory alongside with The French national team. Today we are here to present top 10 French footballers of all time.
The list of top 10 French footballers of all time:
10. Franck Ribery (2006-present, 16 goals in 80 caps)
Some may suggest that Ribery is overrated, but the nominee of last year FIFA Ballon D’or won virtually every honour at club level. Currently he has become a key figure of Bayern Munich Club. With Bayern Munich he has won four Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokals , one Champions League and a world club cup.
In the international football Ribery has turned in some eye catching performances. In 2006 world cup, the match against Spain, his first goal was particularly memorable as he scored it in the first knock out round.
9. Lilian Thuram (1994-2008, 2 goals in 142 caps)
The defender, Lilian Thuram was a key member of France’s Golden period. Besides he also won trophies in France, Italy, and Spain. In the club football, the majority of his success came with Juventus, with whom he won two Serie A titles and Italian Super Cups.
Although he was not known for scoring goals, but his two knocks was regarded with great values for the French team. In 98’ World cup in France with the host losing 1-0 in the semi-finals, Thuram fired in an unexpected brace to carry his nation to the final, where they overcame Brazil.
8. Eric Cantona (1987-1995, 20 goals in 45 caps)
Eric Cantona’s international career was littered with controversy as he fell out with team managers-Henri Michel and Aime Jacquet. Nevertheless Cantona still managed himself to score 20 goals for his nation, which included 2-1 win over Sweden in World Cup qualifying.
After being controversial in Ligue 1 following a string of incident, he flew across the channel and joined in Leeds United to win the 1992 title. After that he joined Manchester United and became an old Trafford legend by winning four premier league titles and two FA cup titles. Surprisingly he was an star in England, not in France.
7. Patrick Vieira (1997-2009, 6 goals in 107 caps)
Being an integral part of the France’s Golden era, Vieira was regarded as one of the world’s best mid-fielders. Although he played as a substitute in 98’France world cup, but he was a key player to the national team when they won European Championship two years later.
He made himself a vital figure in Arsenal with which he won three premier league titles and four FA Cups.
6. Jean-Pierre Papin (1986-1995, 30 goals in 54 caps)
It was sad for a player of his talent being a member of French side branded ‘ the Cursed generation’ with Michel Platini retired Zinedine Zidane struggling to establish himself. But Papin had proven his quality at both Club and International level. He was so popular in Marseille, that the Italian Club AC Milan offered a record fee of 10 million pound to secure his service in 1992.
5. Just Fontaine (1953-1960, 30 goals in 21 caps!!!)
France may have finished third in 1958 World Cup, but Fontaine made his glory written in the world cup history. He scored a stunning 13 goals in that tournament which is a still standing World Cup record. His quartet of strikes during the playoff encounter against West Germany was a firing performance in that tournament.
He made his debut match memorable by scoring a hat-trick against Luxemburg in a 1954 world cup qualifier. Fontaine was the leading goal scorer in 1958-59 European Cup with 10 goals. His most successful period was spent with the French club Stade de Reims.
4. Thierry Henry (1997-2010, 51 goals in 123 caps)
Thierry Henry is France’s leading goal scorer of all time by a 10-goal margin. Henry’s international career is full of glorious matches. He scored three goals in France ’98 world cup and added another three in Euro 2000. In 2006 world cup it was Henry’s goal that defeated the defending Champion Brazil.
Many feel that, he is the best player English Club Arsenal ever got. Henry achieves the position with dignity in the list of top 10 French footballers of all time.
3. Raymond Kopa (1952-1962, 18 goals in 45 caps)
By beating players like Pele, Garrincha and his teammate Fontaine , Kopa won the player of the tournament award in 1958 World Cup. One year later, the French master also won FIFA Ballon D’or. The Frenchman lifted the European Cup on three occasions in 1950s alongside Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano. He remains in Pele’s list of top 125 greatest living footballers of all time.
2. Michel Platini (1976-1987, 41 goals in 72 caps)
Michel Platini’s finest performance came during 1984 championships. He guided the hosts to their first international trophy while France scored 14 goals, nine of which came from Platini in that tournament.
In the club level, he helped Juventus with his stunning goal to win their first ever European Cup against Liverpool in 1985.
1. Zinedine Zidane (1994-2006, 31 goals in 108 caps)
The hero of 1998 world cup, ‘Zizou’ has experienced such contrast emotions in two world cup final that no one ever did before. The world cup hero scored two goals of three that sunk Brazil in 1998 world cup final. And dramatically eight years later against Italy in 2006 world cup finals, he made himself the villain of all when he was sent off for headbutting Italian Marco Materazzi. France was defeated on penalties. It was Zizou’s last match as a professional footballer.
His glittering career includes two Serie A with Juventus and a La Liga crown with Real Madrid.
In 2002 champions league final, Zidane fired an unstoppable volley into the Bayer Leverkusen net. The goal was regarded as one of the best ever scored in any match. And Zinrdine Zidane places no 1 position in our list of top 10 French footballers of all time..
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