Sports

The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time 

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Updated November 25, 2019 60.8k votes 5.7k voters 131.3k views 238 items

List Rules French soccer players only.

Aside from Zizou (Zinedane Zidane), who else makes it onto the list of the best French soccer players? Plenty of French footballers, according to soccer fans. Below, you'll see a rank of the best footballers from France, spanning decades of history--with some star players from years past. Don't agree with the list? Vote for your favorite French football players and add any you feel should be in the discussion.

This list of the best soccer players from France includes details on positions played along with photos when available. If you're searching for a particular famous French soccer player you can use the search box at the top of the list to find who you're looking for. Some generally agreed upon greats include Cyrille Pouget, Antar Yahia and Zinedine Zidane. In fact, Zidane is in the running for being one of the best soccer players of all time, regardless of country. But if you're wondering who are the best French footballers currently or who is the greatest French soccer player of all time, this list is for you. 

You can click on the names of these popular soccer players of France in order to get more information about each one. If you're a soccer fan, then you can use this list of the best French soccer players to discover some new athletes that you might not know about.
list ordered by
1
Zinedine Zidane is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
BaruchLalaev added Midfielder from Marseille, France

Nationality: France

Zinedine Yazid Zidane (French pronunciation: ​[zinedin jazid zidan]; born 23 June 1972), nicknamed "Zizou" (pronounced [zizu]), is a French former professional football player and ...more

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#26 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #785 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #6 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time

2
Michel Platini is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Midfielder from Jœuf, France

Nationality: France

Michel François Platini (born 21 June 1955) is a French former football player, manager and administrator. As the president of UEFA in 2015 he was banned from football, over ethics ...more

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#627 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #67 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #258 of 343 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

3
Thierry Henry is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
pablocrub added Forward and Midfielder from Les Ulis, France

Nationality: France

Thierry Daniel Henry (French pronunciation: ​[tjɛʁi ɑ̃ʁi]; born 17 August 1977) is a French professional football coach and former player who was most recently the manager of Ligue 1 club ...more

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#1,122 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #17 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #7 of 203 The Best Soccer Players of the '90s

4
Raymond Kopa is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward and Midfielder from Nœux-les-Mines, France

Nationality: France

Raymond Kopa (French pronunciation: ​[ʁɛmɔ̃ kɔpa]; birth name Raymond Kopaszewski; 13 October 1931 – 3 March 2017) was a French footballer, integral to the French national team of the 1950s. At ...more

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#296 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #25 of 49 The Best Real Madrid Midfielders Of All Time #12 of 54 The Best Real Madrid Forwards Of All Time

5
Just Fontaine is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward from Marrakesh, Morocco

Nationality: France, Morocco

Just Louis Fontaine (pronounced [ʒyst fɔ̃.tɛn]; born 18 August 1933) is a retired French professional footballer. A prolific forward, he is best known for scoring the most goals in a single ...more

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#1,596 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #359 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time

6
Patrick Vieira is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Midfielder from Dakar, Senegal

Nationality: Senegal, France

Patrick Vieira (born 23 June 1976) is a French professional football head coach and former player. He is the manager of Nice. Considered one of the best players of his generation, Vieira began ...more

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#106 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #259 of 357 The Best Current Soccer Players #3 of 117 The Best Arsenal Players Of All Time

7
Antoine Griezmann is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
uluhan-tepe added Forward and Midfielder from Mâcon, France

Nationality: France

Antoine Griezmann (French pronunciation: ​[ɑ̃twan ɡʁijɛzman]; born 21 March 1991) is a French professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Barcelona and the French national ...more

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#176 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #8 of 357 The Best Current Soccer Players #17 of 104 Coolest Soccer Players

8
Kylian Mbappé is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Kylian Mbappé Lottin is a French professional footballer who plays as a forward for Paris Saint-Germain and the France national team. Mbappé came into prominence at an early age, ...more

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#2,115 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #147 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #16 of 357 The Best Current Soccer Players

9
Jean-Pierre Papin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward from Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Nationality: France

Jean-Pierre Roger Guillaume Papin (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑ̃ pjɛʁ papɛ̃]; born 5 November 1963) is a French former professional footballer who played as a forward, and who was named the ...more

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#1,476 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #293 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #120 of 203 The Best Soccer Players of the '90s

10
Jean Tigana is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Midfielder from Bamako, Mali

Nationality: France, Mali

Amadou Jean Tigana (born 23 June 1955) is a former French international footballer, having played in midfield and managed professional football extensively throughout France, including 52 ...more
11
Karim Benzema is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
pablocrub added Forward from Lyon, France

Nationality: France

Karim Mostafa Benzema (French pronunciation: ​[kaʁim bɛnzema]; born 19 December 1987) is a French professional footballer who plays as a striker for Spanish club Real Madrid and the France ...more

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#2,177 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #181 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #996 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

12
David Trezeguet is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
bradley-lothian-singer added David Trezeguet Forward from Rouen, France

Nationality: France, Argentina

David Sergio Trezeguet (French pronunciation: ​[david sɛʁʒjo tʁezəɡɛ]; born 15 October 1977) is a French former footballer who played as a striker. Trezeguet began his career in Argentina with ...more
13
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Tom Šmíd added Defender from Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe, Guadeloupe

Nationality: France

Marius Paul Trésor (born 15 January 1950) is a French former professional footballer who played as a defender. He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living ...more
14
Dominique Rocheteau is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward from Saintes, Charente-Maritime, France

Nationality: France

Dominique Rocheteau (French pronunciation: ​[dɔminik ʁɔʃəto]; born 14 January 1955) is a French former international football winger. He played in the final tournament of three World Cups, ...more
15
N'golo Kanté is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
N'golo Kanté
16
Eric Cantona is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward and Midfielder from Marseille, France

Nationality: France

Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona (French pronunciation: ​[eʁik kɑ̃tona]; born 24 May 1966) is a French actor and former professional footballer. He played for Auxerre, Martigues, Marseille, Bordeaux, ...more

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#1,533 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #63 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #16 of 203 The Best Soccer Players of the '90s

17
Alain Giresse is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Midfielder from Langoiran, France

Nationality: France

Alain Jean Giresse (French pronunciation: ​[alɛ̃ ʒiʁɛs]; born 2 August 1952) is a French football coach and former player who played as a midfielder. He was French footballer of the year in ...more
18
Roger Piantoni is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward from Étain, France

Nationality: France

Roger Piantoni (26 December 1931 – 26 May 2018) was a French international footballer. He was the star, inside-forward on the French team in the late 1950s. During the 1949–1950 season, he was ...more
19
Marcel Desailly is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Defender and Midfielder from Accra, Ghana

Nationality: France, Ghana

Marcel Desailly (born Odenke Abbey, French pronunciation: ​[maʁsɛl dəsɑji]; born 7 September 1968) is a French former professional footballer who played as a centre back or defensive midfielder ...more

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#128 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #125 of 203 The Best Soccer Players of the '90s #61 of 464 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

20
Larbi Benbarek is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Midfielder from Casablanca, Morocco

Nationality: France, Morocco

Larbi Benbarek or Larbi Ben Mbarek (Arabic: العربي بن مبارك‎ – also known as the Black Pearl; born 16 June 1914 – died 16 September 1992) was a Moroccan football player recognized as the first ...more
21
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Defender from Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe

Nationality: France

Ruddy Lilian Thuram-Ulien (French pronunciation: ​[li.ljɑ̃ ty.ʁam]; born 1 January 1972) is a French retired professional football defender and the most capped player in the history of the ...more

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#119 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #39 of 203 The Best Soccer Players of the '90s #13 of 464 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

22
Paul Pogba is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Midfielder from Lagny-sur-Marne, France

Nationality: France

Paul Labile Pogba is a French professional footballer who plays for Italian club Juventus in Serie A. He operates primarily as a central midfielder and is comfortable at playing both in attack ...more

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#196 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #420 of 464 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time #1,441 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

23
Laurent Blanc is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Defender from Alès, France

Nationality: France

Laurent Robert Blanc (French pronunciation: ​[loʁɑ̃ blɑ̃]; born 19 November 1965) is a French professional football manager and former player. He was most recently the manager of Paris ...more

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#473 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time #37 of 203 The Best Soccer Players of the '90s #344 of 464 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time

24
Franck Ribéry is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
pablocrub added Forward and Midfielder from Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Nationality: France

Franck Henry Pierre Ribéry (French pronunciation: ​[fʁɑ̃k ʁibeʁi]; born 7 April 1983) is a French professional footballer who plays for Serie A club Fiorentina. He primarily plays as a ...more

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#1,820 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #819 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #91 of 1,419 The Best Soccer Players of All Time

25
Maxime Bossis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Defender from Saint-André-Treize-Voies, France

Nationality: France

Maxime Jean Marcel Bossis (French pronunciation: ​[maksim bɔsi]; born 26 June 1955 in Saint-André-Treize-Voies, Vendée) is a French former footballer who played as a defender. ...more