15 Best French Midfielders of All Time

Who is the greatest French midfielder ever?

Besides being known as a fashion country, France is also famous because of its strong national football team. This country hasglorious history in the world of football. Not only that, France also has produced dozens, even hundreds of quality footballers. Some of them even have been awarded with numerous prestigious awards during their career as football players.

In this article, I would like to discuss in detail about fifteen greatest French midfielder of all time. I would like to present a list of players who contributed important role in strengthening the midfield line of Les Bleus in various international competitions.

15. David Ginola

David Ginola is a retired left-winger who was famous for having a very elegant style of play. This player was known for his distinctive number, 14, and played for French national team during the period 1990-1995. In his prime time, Ginola was very fast and possessed very great dribbling skills. Ginola could easily deceive the opponent defenders with his skill, dribbled into the penalty box and scored a wonderful goal. One of his best individual achievement is when he was elected as the Premier League's best player in 1999.

14. Youri Djorkaeff

Djorkaeff is a retired midfielder who helped France national team win the World Cup 1998 and Euro 2000. During his career, Djorkaeff did not only play as a central midfielder, but sometimes also took a role as a forward. Although he achieved a lot of trophies with his national team, Djorkaeff's career at the club level wasn't so great. One of the best achievements is only one Winners' Cup trophies that he won with PSG and one UEFA Cup trophy as an Inter Milan's player.

13. Luis Fernandez

Luis Fernandez is a former defensive midfielder who acted as a pillar in the midfield line of French national team. Sometimes, he had to play harsh to stop the opponent's attack. Fernandez is named as one of the best defensive midfielders of all time that was once owned by the French national team, in addition to Patrick Vieira and Didier Deschamps. Throughout his career, Fernandez played 60 times and scored six goals for French national team.

12. Jean Tigana

Jean Tigana was a true partner for Luis Fernadez. They both once were known as one of the best defensive midfielders duo in Europe. The solid combination between Tigana and Fernandez in organizing the team's defense made ​​two French's attacking midfielders, Alain Giresse and Michel Platini, find more opportunity to build the team's offense. The results of their combination was also quite satisfactory, where the French national team managed to win Euro 1984 and occupy the third place in the World Cup 1986. In total, Tigana scored one goal from his 52 appearances for the French national team.

11. Alain Giresse

Alain Giresse was a very creative attacking midfielder. He spent 16 years of his professional career playing with Bordeaux in the period 1970-1986. Not only that, Giresse also three times elected as the best French footballer. Giresse was part of French national team that managed to reach the semi-finals round twice in World Cups 1982 and 1986, and he also won the Euro 1984 tournament.

10. Emmanuel Petit

One of the most distinctive features of Emmanuel Petit is his long blond hair tied in ponytail. Petit is a defensive midfielder who successfully helped France national team win the World Cup 1998 and Euro 2000. At club level, Petit also had successful career with AS Monaco, Arsenal, and Barcelona. Petit's one of the most memorable performances was when he scored the final goal when France defeated Brazil 3-0 in the final match of World Cup 1998.

9. Florent Malouda

Playing as a winger, Florent Malouda won numerous achievements, especially when he played for Lyon and Chelsea. As Lyon's player, he won the French League four times in a row. In Chelsea, he managed to present a Premier League title in the 2009-2010 season and was named as the best player of the club in the same year. At his best times, Malouda is known as a fast-paced and agile winger.

8. Robert Pires

Calm, creative, and dangerous. Robert Pires was a versatile midfielder who won many trophies with Arsenal. Due to his great contribution, Pires was named the sixth Arsenal's best player of all time. At the Gunners, he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cup trophies. His career with the French national team is much more impressive, where Pires won the World Cup 1998, Euro 2000, and became two-time champion of the Confederations Cup in 2001 and 2003.

7. Didier Deschamps

Didier Deschamps is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. He is also noted as a player with the most appearances as a captain for France national team, including in the World Cup 1998 when he led his team to be the champion of the tournament. Deschamps was also quite successful at club level, especially when he played for Juventus. As a Juventus player, he won three Serie A titles, one Champions League trophy, and one Intercontinental Cup trophy.

6. Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira was a very strong defensive midfielder. He would do anything to stop the opposing team's attack, even if he had to do hard tackles or dirty plays. His toughness in the midfield line helped him become an important player for Arsenal, Inter Milan, and French national team. At club level, Vieira won five Serie A titles (with AC Milan and Inter Milan) and four English Premier League titles. His best season occurred in 2001, where he was able to win a lot of titles with Arsenal and also named as the best France player of the year.

5. Henri Michel

Henri Michel is not only successful as a player, but also as a coach. During his period as a footballer, he was known as a playmaker who helped Nantes to be one of the best clubs in the French league at the time. He led Nantes won three French League titles and became five times runner-up of the competition. When he became a coach of French national football team, Michel managed to win Olympic's gold medal in 1984.

4. Franck Ribery

Ribery is a fast, creative, and ingenious midfielder. His natural position is a winger, but Ribery is also sometimes played as an attacking midfielder. He was appointed to be a leader of French midfield line since Zinedine Zidane retired, but his performance in the team still has not able to match Zidane's level. However, Ribery achieved a lot of great things at club level, especially with Bayern Munich. So far, he has won three Bundesliga titles and one Champions League trophy.

3. Raymond Kopa

Raymond Kopa is a legendary attacking midfielder who took Real Madrid win the Champions Cup three times in the 1950s. Not only known as a reliable playmaker, Kopa is also a prolific goalscorer. Before moving to Madrid, Kopa had a great career with Stade Reims, where he led the club win three French league titles. Throughout his career, Kopa played 541 times and scored 123 goals.

2. Michel Platini

During his best period, Michel Platini was not only a very creative attacking midfielder, but at the same time he had a role as a goal-scoring machine for his team. He is known as one of the most prolific midfielders in scoring goals. This fact is proven by his success to be Serie A's top scorer three times in a row. Throughout his career, Platini also won three Ballon d'Or awards. For France national team, Platini scored 41 goals in 72 matches, also won the Euro 1984 tournament.

1. Zinedine Zidane

Zidane is an all-time legend, source of energy, as well as the soul of the French national team. This player had a very important role in leading France dominate the world football from 1998 to 2000. His career with Real Madrid and Juventus were also very successful, where Zidane won various prestigious titles. Throughout his career as a France national team player from 1994 to 2006, Zidane scored 31 goals in 108 matches.

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