France is one of the most successful football teams in the world, and they’ve won the World Cup twice in 1998 and 2018, as well as the European Championship twice in 1984 and 2000. They’ve also been the second-best team in the World Cup three times and once in the European Championship.
Some amazing French soccer players like Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane, and Thierry Henry have played for the national team and scored a lot of goals. Their goal records are still impressive.
The first French player to ever score a goal for the national team was Louis Mesnier in 1904. He scored six goals in 14 games. Then in March 1929, Paul Nicolas became the first French player to score 20 goals. Another guy named Jean Nicolas passed him in June 1938.
Then, in November 1959, Just Fontaine scored even more goals and became the top scorer with 24 goals after a game against Portugal. Michel Platini later broke that record during the 1984 European Championships and scored a total of 41 goals for France.
Top Goal Scorers for France Football Team
In this article, we’re going to talk about the top 10 goal scorers for the France national soccer team.
1. Olivier Giroud
- Career Span: 2011–present
- Matches: 125
- Goals: 54
- Average: 0.43
Becoming the top scorer for the French national team makes Olivier Giroud one of the best players in French history.
Olivier Giroud has played 125 international matches, and in those games, he scored 54 goals. This includes ten times when he scored two goals in a single match and once, in 2017, when he scored three goals. On his 34th birthday, he joined the “Hundred Club” for players with 100 or more caps. During a game against Ukraine, he was even made the team captain, and he scored two goals in that match. This achievement moved him ahead of Michel Platini to become the second-highest goalscorer in French international history.
In the first World Cup match of 2022, Giroud scored two more goals, tying him with Thierry Henry, who was previously the top scorer for the French national team. With another goal in the World Cup round of 16, Giroud took the top spot in this record. He has also earned the distinction of being the fourth-most capped French player, with only Hugo Lloris, Lilian Thuram, and Thierry Henry having more international appearances.
2. Thierry Henry
- Career Span: 1997–2010
- Matches: 123
- Goals: 51
- Average: 0.41
The two Top Goal Scorers for France’s Football Team are Thierry Henry and Olivier Giroud.
Thierry Henry is a famous French striker known for his time at Arsenal, where he was part of the Invincibles team, and for his successful stint with FC Barcelona. He’s also a legendary figure for the French national team. With the French team, Henry won three major titles: the 1998 World Cup, the 2000 European Championship, and the 2003 Confederations Cup. Additionally, he was the runner-up in the 2006 World Cup.
Henry is the second-highest all-time top scorer for the French national team, with 51 goals scored in 123 games. However, Olivier Giroud has broken this record, with 54 goals in 125 games.
3. Antoine Griezmann
- Career Span: 2014–present
- Matches: 123
- Goals: 44
- Average: 0.36
Antoine Griezmann, affectionately known as “Grizou,” may not be as flashy as some other players, but he’s been consistently great for the French national team. He’s the third-highest goal scorer in the history of the team, with 44 goals in 123 international matches.
Griezmann has been a key player for the French team in important moments. After Franck Ribery retired from international football, Griezmann stepped up as a leader for “Les Bleus.” In his first major tournament, Euro 2016, he helped France reach the final and was involved in scoring or assisting in all the knockout matches, except the final.
Two years later, Griezmann had a sweet victory in the World Cup. Once again, he played a crucial role by contributing in every decisive match, and in the final against Croatia, he both scored and assisted to help France become champions.
Griezmann is often referred to as “the little prince,” and he still has many more big tournaments ahead of him, so he could potentially climb higher on the list of top goal scorers for the French national team in the future.
4. Michel Platini
- Career Span: 1976–1987
- Matches: 72
- Goals: 41
- Average: 0.57
In fourth place, we have Michel Platini, a fantastic midfielder who won the Ballon d’Or three times. He made a big mark internationally while playing for Juventus in Italy, where he achieved a legendary status by winning almost everything.
Michel Platini was unique because, before Lionel Messi, he was the only player in history to win the Ballon d’Or three times in a row. However, one of his big dreams was to win a World Cup with his national team, but unfortunately, he couldn’t achieve that.
Still, Platini did win the 1984 European Championship and scored 41 goals in 72 games for the French national team, making him their fourth-highest scorer of all time.
5. Kylian Mbappé
- Career Span: 2017–present
- Matches: 71
- Goals: 40
- Average: 0.56
At just 24 years old, Kylian Mbappé has already made it into the Top 5 of the Top Goal Scorers for the France Football Team. He achieved something remarkable by winning the World Cup when he was only 20.
Mbappé is known for his incredible speed, which allows him to outpace defenses easily. But that’s not all – he’s also highly skilled and an amazing finisher. With over 200 goals and more than 140 assists in his career already, Mbappé has the potential to become the greatest French player in history.
He’s not just a star at PSG; he’s already a legend for the French national team. After winning the Under-19 Euro in 2016, he joined the senior French team directly, skipping the youth stages. In 2018, he played a crucial role in helping France win the World Cup, scoring four goals during the tournament, including one in the final.
In the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Kylian Mbappé had an outstanding performance, scoring eight goals in seven matches and winning the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer.
6. Karim Benzema
- Career Span:
Karim Benzema has great success with his club, winning five Champions League titles among other things, but he hasn’t won much with the French national team, except for a Nations League title. He didn’t even play in the last four of the World Cup or the Euro due to being sidelined for more than five years, which is still a bit puzzling.
Benzema started his career in Lyon, his hometown, and had a successful time there, winning Ligue 1 four times. Later, he moved to Real Madrid, where he still plays today. Although he had a tough first season, he eventually became a key player and even the team’s captain.
For the national team, his journey is a bit mixed. He’s been a part of the French team since 2007 and reached the quarter-finals at Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup. However, an off-field issue kept him out of the team from 2015 to 2021. Despite the ups and downs, Benzema is still considered one of the best French players in history.
7. David Trezeguet
- Career Span: 1998–2008
- Matches: 71
- Goals: 34
- Average: 0.48
He was known as a master in the penalty box, with an exceptional ability to score goals. He’s one of the best goal-scorers in the history of French football and had incredible coordination and anticipation in the opposing team’s area, something even newcomers to the game could appreciate.
One of his most memorable moments was during Euro 2000 when he delivered victory to the French team. He scored an amazing volley in the golden goal period that defeated Italy in Rotterdam with a score of 2-1.
On July 9, 2008, he made a surprising announcement – he was retiring from international football. At that time, he was the third-highest goal-scorer in the history of the French national team, with 34 goals in 71 appearances. He explained that the disappointing Euro 2008 and the decision to keep the same coach were the main reasons behind his retirement. He also mentioned that he had a different perspective on football compared to the views in France, and Euro 2008 had a negative impact on him.
8. Zinedine Zidane
- Career Span: 1994–2006
- Matches: 108
- Goals: 31
- Average: 0.29
Zinedine Zidane, the legendary French player, is, in our opinion, the greatest player in the entire history of France. His impressive statistics truly showcase his exceptional talent.
With the French national team, he achieved victory in the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 Euro Cup. However, he’s also remembered for an unfortunate incident in the 2006 World Cup final, where he famously headbutted an opponent, Marco Materazzi, in a moment that has become part of football history.
Zidane scored an impressive 31 goals while playing for ‘Les Bleus,’ making him the 8th-highest goal-scorer in the history of the French national team. Additionally, he made 108 appearances for the team, ranking him as the 7th player with the most appearances in France’s history.
At the club level, Zidane is renowned for his time at Juventus and, most notably, his highly successful career at Real Madrid. He is remembered for scoring what many consider the best goal in UEFA Champions League history.
Currently, Zidane serves as the coach of Real Madrid and played a pivotal role in the team’s historic achievement of winning three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles, which is regarded as one of the most remarkable feats in modern football history.
9. Just Fontaine
- Career Span: 1953–1960
- Matches: 21
- Goals: 30
- Average: 1.43
In ninth place, we have the prolific goal scorer Just Fontaine, who left a remarkable mark in World Cup history. During his first and only appearance in the World Cup, which took place in Sweden in 1958, he scored an incredible 13 goals.
At that time, this made him the highest goal scorer in World Cup history. France finished in third place in that tournament.
But Fontaine’s scoring prowess wasn’t limited to the World Cup. He also netted 8 goals in just 4 games during the 1960 European Championship. In total, he scored 30 goals in 21 games for the French national team, which places him as the ninth-highest goal scorer in France’s history. His goal-scoring average was an impressive 1.43 goals per game.
10. Jean-Pierre Papin
- Career Span: 1986–1995
- Matches: 54
- Goals: 30
- Average: 0.56
Considered one of the best French strikers ever, Jean-Pierre Papin was a classic number 9 known for his efficiency and spectacular goals. His acrobatic volleys and precise finishes made him famous in the world of football. In the 1990s, he formed a formidable attacking duo with Eric Cantona for the French national team. Unfortunately, he missed out on the 1994 World Cup in the United States due to the dramatic France-Bulgaria match in 1993. Papin also didn’t establish himself as much abroad in his club career.
He was a natural goal scorer with various techniques to beat the opposing goalkeeper. Whether it was a powerful low shot into the corner, a delicate chip over the goalie, or a well-placed strike, Papin knew how to find the back of the net.
Papin had a notable World Cup in 1986, scoring two goals in four appearances, helping France secure a third-place finish in the tournament.
He was part of a generation of French players that faced challenges, often missing out on major tournaments like the World Cup in 1990 and 1994 and the Euro in 1988.
With 30 goals in 54 appearances for the French national team, Papin was a gifted footballer who achieved the pinnacle of individual recognition by winning the Ballon d’Or in 1991 while playing for Marseille.