France has produced many a top soccer player over the past few couple of years however the best all have what they would maybe call a “je ne sais quoi”. Les Bleus has been stacked with mercurial soccer players, water carriers and geniuses – and everyone on our list has that indeterminable spirit that has taken them from the banlieues to beyond.
Chances are good that you may not be old enough to remember Raymond Kopa however he was one of the leading soccer players of his generation in the 1950s. An essential part of the French national team, he was also part of the legendary Real Madrid team which won three European Cups in a row. Kopa is just one of four Frenchmen ever to win the Ballon d’Or and was seen as one of the very best playmaking midfielders in the country.
Zinedine Yazid Zidane
Zinedine Zidane was born on 23 June 1972 and nicknamed “Zizou” (pronounced [zizu]), is a French former professional football player and currently is the manager of Real Madrid. Widely regarded as one of the best players of all time, Zidane was an elite playmaker, renowned for his style, vision, ball control and technique. This renowned soccer played as an attacking midfielder for Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus as well as Real Madrid. At club level, Zidane needed two Serie A league titles with Juventus before he moved over to Real Madrid for a ground-breaking-record fee of €77.5 million in 2001, which remained unmatched for the next eight years.
Perhaps France’s greatest player of all-time, Michel Platini was a generational playmaker who achieved much success while representing his country. His senior international start came in March 1976 during Platini’s fourth season as a professional at French side AS Nancy – the midfielder was 20-years old at the time. Platini left a great impression right away, scoring from a free kick as the French drew 2-2 vs then-Czechoslovakia. This form remained throughout his debut year for Les Bleus as Platini netted four goals in his first five caps. He was as exciting to watch as playing at Indian casino sites, and as rewarding for the team too.
Jean Tigana was a vital part of the “Magic Square” midfield of France in the 80s together with Giresse, Luis Fernandez and Michel Platini. This partnership was a main factor in France winning the European Championships in 1984 and ending up in a respectable third place at the World Cup two years later.
As the 1991 Ballon d’Or winner, Jean-Pierre Papin had an extraordinary career all across Europe. He won four French league titles as well as a French Cup with Marseille, a Belgian Cup with Club Brugge, two Italian league awards together with a European Cup with A.C. Milan, as well as a UEFA Cup with Bayern Munich FC. Everywhere that he played, Papin’s eye for scoring goals made him a key part of any team, and his powerful volleys became a notorious part of his offence strategy he was known for.