Do you care to know who the best players in the French national team are? In France, the most popular sport is football. The French soccer team has always been part of the ten best teams in the world and has won two World Cups and two European Cups.
The 10 best French players today are also a great symbol for the country, with players coming from different part of the world, and the team itself is a symbol of cultural diversity. Every two years, the whole country vibrates with any big tournament that happens, be it the World Cup or the European Cup, and every time they lose, the country that beat them gets a bad name among the population.
The French national team from the beginning of time has had many incredible and iconic players. While the team used to have very experienced and older players, it is now a team of very young players, with an average age that barely exceeds 25 years.
The team has never felt so strong and powerful. Didier Deschamps, the France coach, had many talented players and they managed to become world champions for the second time in history.
The first time this happened was in 1998. At the incredible Stade de France in Paris, the French captain lifted the trophy in front of 80,000 fans and that man was Didier Deschamps himself. He became the third man in history to win the Coupe du Monde as a player and coach. A true football legend.
List Of Best Players In The French National Team
1. Zinédine Zidane
He captained France for two years, led the team to the 1998 World Cup triumph by scoring two goals, and was arguably the best player in French history. Zinédine Zidane was born in 1972 in Marseille, south-eastern France, and served as a midfielder. His incredible international career came to a sad end in 2006, when he was sent off from the World Cup against Italy for hitting an Italian player at the end of the match: the fact that France lost that game left the end of his career a little aside.
Even so, he had a remarkable career and is to this day the most popular player in French football history. Away from the national team, he played for AS Cannes and the Girondins de Bordeaux, before rising to fame with Juventus de Torino and finally taking a hit at Real Madrid. After a short absence in the football world, he became the coach of Real Madrid. He has already won three Champions League as a coach (2016, 2017, 2018), making all other coaches jealous.
This incredible and iconic character from the world of football is the subject of countless films, documentaries and books. “Zidane, the biography”, written by two French journalists, tells everything about the master and is a must-read.
2. Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry was born in the Paris suburbs in 1977 and started playing professional football at the age of 17 for AS Monaco. After three years of winning the French Championship once, he left for Arsenal after a quick and unsatisfactory stay at Juventus de Torino. Arsenal is where he made a big impression in history, becoming the best scorer in the team’s history and, by far, one of the best strikers in the world. From 2007 to 2010, he spent three years at FC Barcelona, before joining the American Football League for two years.
His first game with the French national team was in 1997, and the last 13 years later, making him the only French player to participate in four World Cups, one of which he won, as well as three European Cups of which he won one in 2000. His renovation caused a huge stir in the football world, leading to a statue of him being erected in front of Arsenal’s stadium. He is one of the best defenders in football history.
3. Kylian Mbappé
Next on the list is the latest wonder of French football, a striker barely over eighteen who has already seriously shaken the football world. Kylian Mbappé was born in 1998 in the Paris suburbs, 5 months after France won the World Cup. There are rumors that he played a role in creating an incredible football marvel that exploded last season.
He trained at the prestigious Clairefontaine Academy (as Thierry Henry and Olivier Giroud), played for AS Monaco from 2015 to 2017. His surprising performances in both the French League and the Champions League earned him several proposals from the best teams in Europe, including one for 40 million euros when he was just 17 years old. At the end of the 2016/2018 season, rumors sent him to Real Madrid for a shocking sum of €120m, which was flatly refused by Monaco, a team that realized the crazy potential of this player.
However, the big surprise came in August 2017, when Paris Saint-Germain announced the signing of Mbappé from Monaco. Transfer fees could have reached 150 million euros, making Mbappé the second most expensive player of all time.
In July 2018, he became the youngest player to score in the World Cup final since Pelé the King in 1958. Russia’s World Cup Best Young Player, the new football star is ready to take over. Impressed throughout the tournament and showed incredible skills. The “Golden Boy” was praised for his speed, technique and maturity by many football experts such as Gary Lineker, Pelé or Jurgen Klinsmann.
4. N’Golo Kante
N’Golo Kante was born in the Parisian suburbs of Malian parents. At 26, he is about the average age of a national team and began his rise to fame last year, much later than the other players mentioned in this article.
He was selected for the first time with the French national team in 2016 at the age of 24 and played for small French clubs until joining Leicester City in 2016. After winning the English championship in a spectacular and absolutely unique season, he joined Chelsea for 38 million euros and won the championship again, putting his name definitively in football history.
5. Blaise Matuidi
Another incredibly athletic midfield that played for Paris Saint-Germain, the best team in France. This player was born in 1987 in Toulouse, southwestern France, and played for PSG from 2011 to 2017. Before that, he played for AS Saint-Etienne and ESC Troyes, two smaller teams in the French Championship. Matuidi has led PSG to win the championship four times and has been a key player for the French national team since their first game in 2010.
Today, Blaise Matuidi is Juventus’ key player in Italy and his reputation has never been higher. When he joined the Italian champions last summer for €20m, his coach had to change the team’s entire strategy to adapt to Matuidi’s position on the field.
6. Karim Benzema
Technically, being a French football player, he no longer plays for the national team, in part because he made some comments that were not appreciated by the public and showed an ambiguous relationship to the country.
However, Karim Benzema deserves his place among the top 10 best football players in France, as he has played at a very high level for almost a decade and has been a leading French national team striker in the past, for example during the World Cup in 2014 in which France reached the quarter-finals. This incredibly talented yet controversial player was born in 1987 in Lyon, which was also the first team he played for when he was nineteen. He joined Real Madrid in 2009 and has won four Champions League and two Spanish championships since then.
7. Hugo Lloris
Goalkeeper and captain since 2009, Hugo Lloris. This incredible goalkeeper is very discreet off the field, never causing any kind of problem with the media, but he is a true leader on the field, earning him the role of captain. He first played with the national team in 2008 and is the main goalkeeper since the 2010 World Cup, protecting France’s nets during two World Cups and two European Cups since then.
At 31, he almost looks like a veteran in this young French team: he was born in 1986 in Nice, southern France, on the Mediterranean coast. Having played for Nice and Olympique Lyonnais, he joined Tottenham Hotspurs in 2012 and has helped maintain an important role in the Premier League ever since.
8. Raphael Varane
He started his first game in 2013 when he was still nineteen, yet he has shown a surprising amount of stamina against some of the best and most experienced opponents forward. This amazing player was born in Lille in 1993 and became a major league player incredibly early, being named one of the 10 most promising players by the Guardian in 2014. He plays for European champions Real Madrid and has had a primary role there ever since the time he was nineteen.
Raphaël Varane is known for his maturity and intelligence. What was he doing when he completed his transfer to Real Madrid at the age of 18? He was taking his final exam in high school economics.
During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, France counted on him. The 25-year-old French star is finally ready: the pressure doesn’t scare him. Since 2014, many rumors are sending the Frenchman into the English Premier League, but his transfer would cost a fortune. In 2017, Real Madrid announced that it had reached an agreement on the extension of Raphaël Varane’s contract with the club. His new agreement will keep him at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2022.
9. Antoine Griezmann
A little older than Pogba (30 years old), he gained fame a little later. During the European Cup last summer, he made a big difference in the way the national team played and led the team straight to the finals, defeating some of the best teams in the race, such as world champions Germany.
He becomes incredibly popular, and almost every French kid has a sweater with his name that’s hard to pronounce. He was born in Mâcon, a beautiful city in eastern France, in 1991, and was chosen for the first time to play for the French national team in 2014, during the World Cup. Outside the national team, he plays a prominent role with Atlético de Madrid, the team he helped lead to the Champions League final in 2016. He plays in the central position.
He was linked to FC Barcelona, however he decided to continue playing for Atlético Madrid. We already imagined the success that would have been alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. During the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he won three men at stake awards, the most notable during the final against Croatia (4 to 2).
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10. Paul Pogba
The most famous French player of the moment: Paul Labile Pogba, a brilliant midfielder. He is a superstar who started playing for the French international team in 2013 and played in the 2014 World Cup, where he was named best young player at the tournament.
The young man who was born in 1993 in the Paris suburbs rose to superstar status at an alarming rate, becoming one of the most popular players in the Italian Football League, where he played for Juventus de Torino, the team that topped the league’s first place in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Last autumn, he was transferred to Manchester United for an impressive sum: 105 million euros, making him the most expensive player in history. He definitely deserves his place among the top 10 French football players, today and perhaps even one of all time.