Famous French Sportspersons

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France may be famous for its exquisite locations, awesome weather conditions, lip-smacking croissants and appetizing red wine but that is not what France is all about. Sports in France are as intrinsic to its culture as is French history. Though soccer is the most played sport in France, French do excel in other sports such as tennis, wrestling, rugby, handball, basketball and the famous French Tour de France cycling. Athletes of France have time and again proved that the country houses some of the best sports person of the world who are amongst the most talented and skilled lot. Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Letizi, Thierry Henry, Raymond Kopa are legendary soccer players who require no formal introduction on the world football forum. They have been French football’s glitzing stars and have been responsible for much of the success of the France national football team. French tennis saw the greats like Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce, Stephanie Cohen Aloro, Marion Bartoli and Pierre Darmon grab the country an enviable position in world tennis scene. Other prominent French sports stars include Andre the Giant - wrestler, Sarah Abitbol – figure skater, Jessica Fox – slalom canoer and Jeannie Longo Ciprelli – cyclist. With this segment, discover some interesting facts about the life of French sports stars.
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 1 
Kylian Mbappé
(French Footballer Who Plays as a Forward and is Considered One of the Best Players in the World)
Kylian Mbappé
48
Birthdate: December 20, 1998
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France

Regarded as one of the best footballers of the current generation, Kylian Mbappé became only the second teenager to score a goal in the final game of a World Cup. Known for his explosive speed and dribbling skills, Mbappé made an impact at a young age. Very mature for his age, he also believes in giving back to society.

 2 
Paul Pogba
(French Professional Football Player Who Plays as Midfielder)
Paul Pogba
43
Birthdate: March 15, 1993
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lagny-sur-Marne, France

Paul Pogba is a prominent football player for the English club Manchester United; in 2016 he was transferred from Juventus to Manchester United for a then-world record transfer fee of £89.3 million, which remains the highest paid fee by any English club. Also an important member of the France national team, he helped France win the 2018 World Cup.

 3 
Antoine Griezmann
(Footballer)
Antoine Griezmann
26
Birthdate: March 21, 1991
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mâcon, France

Antoine Griezmann is a French football player. A key member of the France national team, Antoine Griezmann helped his team win the 2018 FIFA World Cup by scoring a goal and assisting another in France's 4-2 win against Croatia. Also an esports enthusiast, Griezmann launched an esports organisation called Grizi Esport in 2020.

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 4 
Karim Benzema
(French Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Striker)
Karim Benzema
13
Birthdate: December 19, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lyon, France

Karim Benzema is a French football player often described as strong, powerful, and immensely talented striker. Over the years, Karim has gained the reputation of not missing an opportunity to score a goal once he gets inside the penalty area. In 2010, he got into legal trouble after visiting a 16-year-old prostitute in Paris. The charges were dropped in 2014.

 5 
N'Golo Kante
(Association football player)
N'Golo Kante
11
Birthdate: March 29, 1991
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France

N'Golo Kante is a French football player who currently plays for the France national team as well as Chelsea FC. Widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world, Kanté played a major role in helping his former team Leicester City win their first Premier League title. He also helped France win its second World Cup in 2018.

 6 
Olivier Giroud
(French Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Striker)
Olivier Giroud
12
Birthdate: September 30, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chambéry, France

Olivier Giroud is a football player and a prominent member of the France national team. He played a key role in helping his team win the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Thanks to his popularity, Giroud has been a major media personality in France, with appearances in commercials for brands like Hugo Boss and Puma.

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 7 
Ousmane Dembele
(Association football player)
Ousmane Dembele
8
Birthdate: May 15, 1997
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vernon, Eure Vernon, France

Ousmane Dembele is a footballer who currently plays for the France national team as well as Barcelona. Renowned for his speed, agility, and technical ability, Dembele helped his national team win its second FIFA World Cup in 2018. A skillful player, Dembele can use either foot while playing. Although a mid-fielder, he is also known for his ability to score.  

 8 
André the Giant
(French Professional Wrestler Known for His Great Size)
André the Giant
36
Birthdate: May 19, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Coulommiers, France
Died: January 27, 1993

André the Giant was one of the most popular French wrestlers ever to appear in WWF. He stood over seven feet tall due to a condition aptly called gigantism, but used his condition to gain popularity. Also an actor, André the Giant continues to be one of the most recognizable faces in the world, several years after his death.

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 9 
Franck Ribéry
(One of the Best Football Players of His Generation)
Franck Ribéry
14
Birthdate: April 7, 1983
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

Franck Ribéry is a French football player who currently plays for the Italian football club, Salernitana. Ribéry plays as a midfielder and is renowned for his precise passing, pace, and skill. Recognized as one of the best footballers of his generation, Franck Ribéry was once referred to as the jewel of French football by former captain Zinedine Zidane.

 10 
Zinedine Zidane
(French Professional Football Manager and Former Player Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder)
Zinedine Zidane
24
Birthdate: June 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: La Castellane, Marseille, France

Amongst the greatest footballers of all time, Zinedine Zidane led France to victories in the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000. Later, the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year took up the position of Real Madrid manager and carved yet another success story by winning major titles like Champions League and UEFA Super Cups.

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 11 
Thierry Henry
(Former French Professional Football Player, Coach and One of the Greatest Strikers of All Time)
Thierry Henry
20
Birthdate: August 17, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Les Ulis, France

A football coach, Thierry Henry began his career as a player with Monaco team and later also played for Arsenal and Barcelona. A lethal striker, he became a record goal scorer for both France and Arsenal. He played a crucial role in the French victory in 1998 FIFA World Cup and Arsenal’s win in Premier League and the FA Cup.

 12 
Raphaël Varane
(Footballer centre-back)
Raphaël Varane
8
Birthdate: April 25, 1993
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lille, France
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 13 
Eric Cantona
(French Actor and One of the Greatest Footballers of His Generation)
Eric Cantona
10
Birthdate: May 24, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marseille, France

Eric Cantona is a French actor, filmmaker, and former football player. During his playing career, Cantona was a key player for the popular football club Manchester United and is often credited with reviving the club's reputation as a footballing force. Nicknamed King Eric by Manchester United fans, Eric Cantona continues to enjoy an iconic status within the club.

 14 
Anthony Martial
(French Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Forward)
Anthony Martial
10
Birthdate: December 5, 1995
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Massy, France
Footballer Anthony Martial began his career playing for Les Ulis, Lyon, and AS Monaco. He then signed with Manchester United for the highest fee paid to a teenager back then, and won the 2015–2016 FA Cup. He won the Golden Boy Award for the best European player under 21.
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 15 
Patrice Evra
(Footballer - Left-back for France)
Patrice Evra
10
Birthdate: May 15, 1981
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dakar, Senegal
 16 
Tony Parker
(French-American Professional Basketball Player Who Plays as a Point Guard)
Tony Parker
5
Birthdate: May 17, 1982
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bruges, Belgium

Tony Parker is a French-American former basketball player. During his playing career, he helped the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA win four NBA championships. He currently plays a major role in France's professional basketball league 'LNB Pro A' where he owns one of the league's team, ASVEL Basket. Also a philanthropist, Parker serves as the ambassador for Make-A-Wish France.

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 17 
Patrick Vieira
(Association football player, Association football manager)
Patrick Vieira
11
Birthdate: June 23, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dakar

Patrick Vieira is a football manager and former footballer. Vieira, who was an important member of the France national team, is currently serving as the manager of Crystal Palace Football Club which competes in the Premier League. Widely regarded as one of the best players of his time, Vieira helped his team win its first FIFA World Cup in 1998.

 18 
Hugo Lloris
(French Football Player Who Plays as a Goalkeeper)
Hugo Lloris
8
Birthdate: December 26, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nice, France

Hugo Lloris is a French football player and the current captain of the France national team as well as the popular club Tottenham Hotspur. One of the most popular goalkeepers of his generation, Lloris has won the prestigious Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year award on three occasions. Hugo Lloris also helped his team win the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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 19 
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
(Professional Footballer and Gabon's All-Time Top Goalscorer)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
28
Birthdate: June 18, 1989
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Laval, France

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a footballer who plays as a forward and is the captain of the Gabon national team. He is known for his pace and finishing and is said to be one of the best strikers in the world. He plays for the English club team, Arsenal. He has played for other clubs as well like AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund.

 20 
Francis Ngannou
(Mixed martial artist)
Francis Ngannou
4
Birthdate: September 5, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Batié, Cameroon Batié, Cameroon

Francis Ngannou is a Cameroonian MMA fighter who currently competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) heavyweight division. The current UFC Heavyweight Champion, Ngannou is renowned for his heavy punches and is the hardest recorded puncher of all time. Ngannou is also known for his philanthropic efforts; the Francis Ngannou Foundation aims at helping young people train in a gym.

 21 
Riyad Mahrez
(French Football Player Who Plays as a Winger )
Riyad Mahrez
8
Birthdate: February 22, 1991
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sarcelles, France

Riyad Mahrez is a professional footballer. He plays for Premier League club Manchester City and the Algerian national team. He began his youth career playing for French club AAS Sarcelles and turned professional in 2009. He represented Algeria at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In the 2015–16 season, he was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year.

 22 
Samuel Umtiti
(Association football player)
Samuel Umtiti
8
Birthdate: November 14, 1993
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Yaoundé

Samuel Umtiti is a French football player who currently plays for the France national team and Barcelona. Over the years, Umtiti has helped Barcelona win two La Liga titles and three Copa del Rey. He was part of the 2018 team that won the World Cup; Umtiti scored the only goal to help France beat Belgium in the semi-final match. 

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 23 
Pierre Gasly
(Formula 1 Driver)
Pierre Gasly
4
Birthdate: February 7, 1996
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rouen, France
 24 
Gaël Monfils
(Tennis star who reached the number-seven world ranking)
Gaël Monfils
6
Birthdate: September 1, 1986
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Paris, France
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 25 
Michel Platini
(Former French Football Player, Manager and 6th President of UEFA (2007 - 2015))
Michel Platini
5
Birthdate: June 21, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jœuf, France

Michel Platini is a former football player, administrator, and manager. Widely considered one of the greatest football players of all time, this French footballer won the prestigious Ballon d'Or award three times during his glorious playing career. Michel Platini also played a key role as France's national team coach before he was banned from football by the FIFA Ethics Committee.

 26 
Dominique Wilkins
(Basketball Player)
Dominique Wilkins
7
Birthdate: January 12, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
 27 
Blaise Matuidi
(Association football player)
Blaise Matuidi
10
Birthdate: April 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Toulouse

Blaise Matuidi is a French football player who has represented the France national team in prominent tournaments like FIFA World Cups and UEFA European Football Championships. He also played a major role in helping his team win the 2018 World Cup. Referred to as a strong and fierce tackler, Blaise Matuidi is renowned for his energy and physical strength.

 28 
Jules Bianchi
(French Motor Racing Driver)
Jules Bianchi
5
Birthdate: August 3, 1989
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: July 17, 2015

Jules Bianchi, grandson of GT World Champion Mauro Bianchi, was a Formula 3 Euro Series winner and a French Formula Renault 2.0 champion. A collision during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix caused him a diffuse axonal injury. He was in a coma for 8 months before dying at age 25.

 29 
Alain Prost
(Four-time Formula One Drivers' Champion, from 1987 until 2001)
Alain Prost
9
Birthdate: February 24, 1955
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Lorette, Loire, France
 30 
Alexandre Lacazette
(French Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Forward)
Alexandre Lacazette
6
Birthdate: May 28, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lyon, France
French footballer Alexandre Lacazette currently plays as a forward for Arsenal and has previously played for Lyon. He scored the winning goal in France’s win at the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Championship. He has also won the FA Cup with Arsenal and the Coupe de France with Lyon.
 31 
Lilian Thuram
(French Professional Footballer Who Played as a Defender)
Lilian Thuram
8
Birthdate: January 1, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France

French former footballer Lilian Thuram, who is now a renowned author, with books on racism such as White Thinking to his credit. His 142 appearances for the French national team made him the most capped player of his country, while he was part of the 1998 FIFA World Cup-winning squad.

 32 
Dimitri Payet
(Football player)
Dimitri Payet
8
Birthdate: March 29, 1987
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint-Pierre, Réunion, France
 33 
Rudy Gobert
(Basketball player)
Rudy Gobert
9
Birthdate: June 26, 1992
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Quentin, France
 34 
Arsène Wenger
(Football Manager)
Arsène Wenger
17
Birthdate: October 22, 1949
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Strasbourg
French football manager Arsène Wenger is known for being the longest-tenured and most successful manager of Arsenal, with whom he won the Premier League title thrice. Nicknamed Le Professeur for his serious look, the English Football Hall of Fame inductee is known to encourage young talent in the sport. 
 35 
Joakim Noah
(Former Professional Basketball Player)
Joakim Noah
5
Birthdate: February 25, 1985
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Joakim Noah is a French-American basketball player. A two-time NBA All-Star, Noah has played for popular teams like the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, and Memphis Grizzlies. Also known for his humanitarian efforts, Joakim Noah is credited with founding the Noah's Arc Foundation, which aims at helping children through arts and sports.

 36 
Thomas Lemar
(Football player - Midfielder)
Thomas Lemar
5
Birthdate: November 12, 1995
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Baie-Mahault, Guadeloupe, France
 37 
Romain Grosjean
(Only Racing Driver to Hold Both the GP2 Asia Series and Main GP2 Series Titles Simultaneously)
Romain Grosjean
10
Birthdate: April 17, 1986
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland

Romain Grosjean is a racing driver who spent nine Formula One seasons with several teams. In 2011, he won the GP2 Series as well as the GP2 Asia Series, becoming the first two-time GP2 Asia champion. He currently competes in the US-based IndyCar Series.

 38 
Marcel Desailly
(French Former Professional Footballer Who Played as a Centre-Back)
Marcel Desailly
6
Birthdate: September 7, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Accra, Ghana

Born in Ghana, Marcel Desailly first gained attention after moving to the Olympique de Marseille and winning the UEFA Champions League. He then gained fame with AC Milan and Chelsea, and was part of the 1998 World Cup-winning French squad. A BBC Sport pundit post-retirement, he also represents UNICEF

 39 
Gonzalo Higuain
(Football player)
Gonzalo Higuain
11
Birthdate: December 10, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brest, Fracnce

Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain, known as El Pipita or Pipa, has had an illustrious career, representing clubs such as Real Madrid, Juventus, and Chelsea. Apart from six league titles, he also won the UEFA Europa League. With his 36 goals in a single season in Naples, he equalled a record.

 40 
Didier Deschamps
(Former Footballer Defensive Midfielder)
Didier Deschamps
12
Birthdate: October 15, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bayonne, France

Didier Deschamps is a French former professional football player turned manager. He played as a defensive midfielder for many clubs, such as Marseille, Juventus, Chelsea, and Valencia. He was also a French international. He began his managerial career in 2001 and has been the manager of the France national team since 2012. Former tennis player Nathalie Tauziat is his cousin. 

 41 
Boris Spassky
(Russian Chess Grandmaster)
Boris Spassky
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1937
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

Boris Spassky is a Russian chess player who held the World Chess Championship title from 1969 to 1972. He was part of the famous World Chess Championship match in 1972 where he lost his championship title to Bobby Fischer of the United States. In Bobby Fischer's 2014 biopic Pawn Sacrifice, Boris Spassky is portrayed by American actor Isaac Liev Schreiber.

 42 
Marcel Duchamp
(Artist Known for His Revolutionary Developments in the 'Plastic Arts' In the Early 20th Century)
Marcel Duchamp
4
Birthdate: July 28, 1887
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Blainville-Crevon, France
Died: October 2, 1968
French-American painter and sculptor Marcel Duchamp is remembered for his association with movements such as Cubism and Dadaism. A significant figure in conceptual art, he was against art that was meant to just cater to the eyes. He was also a skilled chess player and carved his own chess set.
 43 
Benjamin Mendy
(Association football player)
Benjamin Mendy
6
Birthdate: July 17, 1994
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Longjumeau
 44 
Kalidou Koulibaly
(Footballer Centre-back)
Kalidou Koulibaly
5
Birthdate: June 20, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France

Born to Senegalese parents in France, Kalidou Koulibaly initially played for France U20 and then captained the Senegal national team. He took Senegal to the finals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He has often opened up about racism, especially after once being called a “monkey” by a Florentina fan.

 45 
Moussa Sissoko
(French Professional Footballer Who Plays as Midfielder)
Moussa Sissoko
5
Birthdate: August 16, 1989
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Le Blanc-Mesnil, France

Moussa Sissoko is a French professional footballer. He plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Watford and the France national team. He is known for his ability to play as a box-to-box midfielder in the center of the pitch. He initially played for local clubs and made his professional debut in the 2007–08 season.  

 46 
Djibril Cissé
(Association football player)
Djibril Cissé
6
Birthdate: August 12, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Arles, France
 47 
Ciryl Gane
(Mixed martial artist)
Ciryl Gane
4
Birthdate: April 12, 1990
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: La Roche-sur-Yon, France
 48 
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
(Tennis player)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
10
Birthdate: April 17, 1985
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Le Mans, France
 49 
Kurt Zouma
(Association football player)
Kurt Zouma
6
Birthdate: October 27, 1994
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lyon

Kurt Zouma is a French football player who currently plays for the France national team as well as the West Ham United of Premier League. Zouma, who made his professional debut at the age of 16, was named in the ten most promising young players list by The Observer. Kurt Zouma has won prestigious titles, including two Premier League titles.

 50 
Wissam Ben Yedder
(Footballer striker)
Wissam Ben Yedder
5
Birthdate: August 12, 1990
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sarcelles, France

Wissam Ben Yedder is a French football player who currently plays for the France national team as well as the Ligue 1 club AS Monaco. While playing for the Toulouse Football Club, Ben Yedder scored 71 goals, surpassing André-Pierre Gignac's record. In the 2019–20 season, Wissam Ben Yedder was the joint top goalscorer with Kylian Mbappé in Ligue 1.