Top five: France stars


France have had some incredible sides blessed with power, pace and skill.

The teams of 1984, 1998 and 2000 immediately spring to mind. The French league may not have always been the most appealing in terms of stature but many of the best French players ply their trade in other top European leagues.

With such an array of talent at their disposal it was a tough choice but here is the top five.

5. Didier Deschamps

Deschamps famously captained his side to the country's one and only World Cup win in 1998. The current French boss will not be remembered for his slick skills but his tactical know-how and leadership skills are partly catalysts for his success as a manager.

The former defensive midfielder was one of the first names on the team-sheet anywhere he played; Chelsea, Juventus and Marseille being his most high-profile clubs.

4. Eric Cantona

Never a regular in the French national team - albeit due to politics - Cantona was still a sensational footballer.

He was very much the focal point of Sir Alex Ferguson's domination in the Premier League, particularly in the Scot's early years.

Cantona’s ball control and brilliant intelligence meant he was one of the finest stars to bless the Premier League. He was seen as the figurehead of a youthful Manchester United side and is still by many seen as Fergie's greatest ever signing.

3. Michel Platini

The now UEFA president was footballing maestro in the 70s and 80s. Platini won the Ballon d'Or three times and was instrumental in leading his country to victory at the European Championships in 1984.

Platini's club career peaked in Italy where he was the fundamental element that changed Juventus' fortunes, providing great attacking threat which concluded with them lifting the European Cup in 1985.

2. Thierry Henry

The former Arsenal striker lit up the Premier League during his time, breaking Ian Wright's goalscoring record. With a combination of blistering pace, skill and finishing ability, he was the perfect forward.

Henry was very much a fans favourite and was the key factor to Arsenal’s 2003/04 unbeaten league campaign. Unlucky not to win a World Player of the Year award, Henry won everything else the game had to offer and retired from international football as France's all-time top goalscorer.

1. Zinedine Zidane

Nicknamed Zizou, the graceful midfielder was one of the finest players to ever grace the planet. His majestic touch, supreme creativity and will to win was impressive.

Zidane very much spearheaded France's spectacular World Cup win in 1998 with two goals and from then on the rest is history. He went on to win three World Player of the Year awards and scored one of the greatest ever goals in Real Madrid's 2002 Champions League final triumph.

Zidane was an exceptional playmaker and a player that could have walked into any side throughout history.


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