France's national team captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris recently announced his retirement from international football. The Tottenham Hotspur shot-stopper decided to end his 14-year spell with the national team after the defeat to Argentina in the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Lloris has been an integral member of the French national team since 2008 when he made his international debut. He retired as the nation's most capped player, with a total of 145 appearances.
Lloris was made national team captain in 2012. He won the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the Nations League in 2021 with France. The 36-year-old also captained Les Bleus to the finals of the 2016 European Championship and the 2022 FIFA World Cup, finishing as runners-up on both occasions.
His retirement will leave a huge vacuum in the national team. Coach Didier Deschamps will now have to select a new first-choice goalkeeper as well as appoint a new team captain.
Here's a look at three players who could captain the French national team after Lloris' departure.
#1 Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe is currently the biggest star on the French national team. His terrific performances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup led France to the final.
Mbappe won the Golden Boot, scoring eight goals (including a hat-trick in the final) and providing two assists, and was the second-best player in the tournament behind Lionel Messi.
Despite being just 24, the Paris Saint Germain (PSG) star has the charisma and mentality to be France's next leader.
Lloris was only 25 when Laurent Blanc named him national team captain, and Deschamps could follow that example as he chooses the goalkeeper's successor.
#2 Raphael Varane
If Deschamps decides to use seniority among his current squad as a criterion to choose his next captain, then Raphael Varane is a name near the top of the list.
The Manchester United centre-back is one of the oldest serving members of the French national team following Lloris' retirement. He made his international debut in a World Cup qualifier in 2013.
Varane has been a major part of the French national team over the past decade. He played at the heart of Les Bleus' defense during their successful runs in European competitions and World Cups.
Varane holds the record for the youngest French national team captain (21 years), a feat he achieved in 2014 when Deschamps gave him the armband in a friendly against Armenia.
The 29-year-old has a lot of experience under his belt at both international and club level. He has made 93 appearances for France so far and has featured in over 250 games for Real Madrid and Manchester United.
#1 Antoine Griezmann
The Atletico Madrid forward is one of the most senior members of the current France squad, which makes him a top candidate for the captain's armband. Antoine Griezmann has been an integral player for Les Bleus since making his debut in 2014.
Griezmann is also one of the most experienced players in the French national team, and has played a key role in his nation's success in recent years. He led France's attack at the 2016 European Championship, winning the Golden Boot as they finished as runners-up behind winners Portugal. He was also chosen as the Player of the Tournament by UEFA.
The 31-year-old was also a key member of the 2018 World Cup and the 2021 UEFA Nations League winning team. Griezmann is France's most consistent national team player at the moment. He has not missed a match for France since June 2017, featuring in 74 consecutive games.
He captained the team for the first time in a UEFA Nations League tie versus Denmark in 2022. He is currently the most capped active French footballer with 42 goals in 117 appearances so far.