Sports

The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time  

Reference
Originally by
52.8k votes 5k voters 119k 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
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
2
Thierry Henry is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
pablocrub added Forward, Midfielder
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
3
Michel Platini is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Midfielder
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
4
Jean-Pierre Papin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward
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
5
Raymond Kopa is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward, Midfielder
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
6
Just Fontaine is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward
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
7
Eric Cantona is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward, Midfielder
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
8
Antoine Griezmann is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
uluhan-tepe added Forward, Midfielder
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
9
Patrick Vieira is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Midfielder
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
10
David Trezeguet is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
bradley-lothian-singer added David Trezeguet Forward
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
11
Marcel Desailly is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Defender, Midfielder
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
12
Kylian Mbappé is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
Marius Trésor is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Tom Šmíd added Defender
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
Lilian Thuram is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Defender
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
15
Karim Benzema is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
pablocrub added Forward
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
16
Franck Ribéry is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
pablocrub added Forward, Midfielder
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
17
Roger Piantoni is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward
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
18
Jean Tigana is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Midfielder
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
19
Larbi Benbarek is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Midfielder
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
20
Dominique Rocheteau is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Forward
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
21
Maxime Bossis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Defender
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
22
Alain Giresse is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Midfielder
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
23
N'golo Kanté is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
N'golo Kanté
24
Laurent Blanc is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
Defender
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
25
Raphaël Varane is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best French Soccer Players & Footballers of All Time
scruffenstein added Defender
Raphaël Xavier Varane (French pronunciation: ​[ʁafaɛl vaʁan]; born 25 April 1993) is a French professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Spanish club Real Madrid and the France ...more