France, the reigning World Champions, are one of the strongest footballing nations in the world. They have won the World Cup twice and they have also been crowned the European champions twice. Moreover, they have finished runners-up in the World Cups twice.
France have successfully combined European strength with Latin American flair in their playing style. They usually play a very attractive brand of football, which is mellifluous and soothing to watch. Quite naturally, they have produced some excellent players over the decades, and it is not an easy task to choose the top 5 French footballers of all time.
Still, we have tried to come up with a list of top 5 French footballers of all time. Let us have a look at the list:
#5. Marcel Desailly:
Desailly is one of the greatest defenders in the history of football. He was very tough and a fierce competitor. He was also strong as an ox, and never shied away from a challenge. He was also very strong in the air. Desailly started his professional career with Nantes in 1986. He also won the UEFA Champions League with the French club Marseille in 1992-93.
Desailly joined AC Milan the very next season, and played for the Italian giants till 1998. He again won the UEFA Champions League with Milan, as the Rossoneri defeated Barcelona 4-0 in the final. He was part of a great Milan midfield comprising of the likes of Roberto Donadoni, Ruud Gullit, Zvonimir Boban and Dejan Savicevic. Desailly won the Serie A twice with Milan .
He then moved to London-based club Chelsea, and played for the Blues till 2004. He could not win the Premier League title, but won the FA Cup with Chelsea . Desailly scored 21 goals in 540 matches in his club career.
However, the pinnacle of his career came in the 1998 World Cup, when France hosted and won the tournament. Desailly was one of the standout performers in that World Cup, and remained the mainstay of the French defense along with Laurent Blanc.
Desailly and Blanc again held firm as France lifted the European Championship in 2000. Desailly retired from international football in 2004, having scored 3 goals in 116 appearances for the Les Bleus.