France's all-time top goal scorer in football history

Updated: Oct 20

France national football team's goalscoring chart consists of some of the greatest players in football history. France are one of the most decorated national teams around and have produced some of the greatest footballers in history.

Zinedine Zidane in his prime was just pure art. Michel Platini was very much a player in the same mould. Just Fontaine is an absolute World Cup legend. And then there were clinical attackers such as Jean-Pierre Papin, David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry.

These days, the likes of Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe have taken over the mantle and spend a lot of their time on the pitch celebrating goals.

But who is France's most lethal attacker ever?

Let's take a look at the legends leading their all-time goalscoring charts!

1. Thierry Henry | 51 goals

One of the greatest players France has ever seen, Henry is their highest-ever goalscorer on the international stage. He made his international debut against South Africa back in 1997 and scored his first goal for his country against the same opponents in a 3-0 win in 1998. With a total of 123 caps, Henry went on to score a total of 51 goals for the French national team.


2. Olivier Giroud | 49 goals

Winner of the World Cup in 2018, yet quite possibly the most underrated striker of his generation. Olivier Giroud made his debut for France against USA in November 2011 and scored his first goal for France in a 2-1 win against Germany.

The most important contribution in his international career was setting up Kylian Mbappe for his second goal in a 4-3 win against Argentina in the 2018 World Cup. Giroud has scored 49 goals in total for France.


3. Antoine Griezmann | 42 goals

After suffering immense heartbreak in the final against Portugal at Euro 2016, in which he ended up as the Golden Boot winner, Griezmann made it his personal mission to lead France to World Cup glory in 2018 - and he did it in style. The Frenchman came up with vital moments throughout the tournament, none of which topped his performance in the final against Croatia as he was involved in almost all goals France scored in a 4-2 win. Griezmann has scored 42 goals and provided 31 assists for France to date.


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4. Michel Platini | 41 goals

One of the greatest captains in French football history, Michel Platini led France to win the European Championship in 1984, scoring a vital goal against Spain in the final. The Ballon d'Or winner scored 41 goals in 72 appearances for France, before retiring in 1987. A unique fact regarding Platini is that he came out of retirement for one day on November 27, 1988 to represent Kuwait at the request of the Kuwaiti Emir.


5. Karim Benzema | 37 goals

Winner of the UEFA Nations League with France in 2021, Benzema has scored 37 goals for the national team. His journey with the national team began in March 2007, when then manager Raymond Domenech handed him his debut against Austria.

In the 45 minutes that he played on debut, Benzema scored the only goal of that game as France emerged victorious. After a five-year hiatus from the national team due to the infamous sex-tape scandal involving compatriot Mathieu Valbuena, Benzema's best goalscoring performance since his return came against Portugal at Euro 2020 when he netted a brace in a 2-2 draw.


6. David Trezeguet | 34 goals

Part of three World Cup campaigns for France in 1998, 2002 and 2006, David Trezeguet won the coveted trophy on his first appearance at the tournament. Over the course of his eight-year spell for the national team, he scored 34 goals in 71 appearances, with his golden goal in the Euro 2000 final against Italy the undisputed highlight.

The lowest moment of his career with France arrived when the striker came on as a substitute in the World Cup final of 2006 against Italy. The match went to a penalty shootout and Trezeguet was the only player from either team to miss his spot kick.


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7. Zinedine Zidane | 31 goals

One of the greatest players of all time, Zinedine Zidane made his France debut against the Czech Republic in 1994, scoring two goals to help France secure a 2-2 draw. After Eric Cantona was suspended for a year in January 1995 for assaulting a fan, Zidane was promoted to become France's playmaker.

He made 108 appearances for France, scoring 31 goals and winning the World Cup in 1998, a feat which saw him win the Ballon d'Or that year. The Frenchman was also key to France's Euro Championships win in 2000. Zidane's international career came to an end in the most dramatic fashion as he head-butted Marco Materazzi in the 2006 FIFA World Cup final against Italy, leading to a red card. He retired from professional football after that game.


8. Just Fontaine | 30 goals

One of the great French strikers to have never won an international trophy, Just Fontaine featured in the 1958 World Cup for his country, leading them to a third-place finish. At the tournament, the forward scored 13 goals in just six matches, which is till date the highest number of goals scored by a single player at one World Cup tournament. Over the course of his international football journey, Fontaine scored 30 goals in just 21 games.


9. Jean-Pierre Papin | 30 goals

Part of a "cursed generation" of great French players that featured between the 1980s and late 1990s, Jean-Pierre Papin made his debut in 1986 against Northern Ireland. The centre forward's first goal for the national team came against Canada at the 1986 World Cup.

Papin scored 30 international goals in 54 matches for France, a career that saw him feature in the national team's failure to qualify for the 1988 European Championship and for the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups. France did manage to qualify for Euro 1992 in Sweden, with Papin scoring nine goals in the qualifying rounds. However, Les Bleus couldn't make it past the group stages at the tournament.


10. Youri Djorkaeff | 28 goals

Tenth on the list of top international goal scorers for France is Youri Djorkaeff. The Monaco legend scored 28 goals in 82 games for the national team and featured at two World Cups and two European Championships for France, being part of the teams that won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. It was Djorkaeff who set up Zidane's second goal in the 1998 World Cup final against defending champions Brazil.



Date: 30/9/2022

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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