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Most famous French sport professionals – Part IV

SOCCER

  • Zinedine Zidane:

Zinedine Zidane famous French football player

Zinedine Zidane (born on 23rd June 1972 in Marseille), popularly nicknamed Zizou, is a famous French former football midfielder and is considered by many to be one of the greatest football players of all times.

He was nominated three times as the World Player of the Year by the FIFA in 1998, 2000 and 2003 and “ballon d’or” in 1998. The magazine “France Football” named him twice as the second best French player of all times.

His career accomplishments include winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000, in addition to the 2002 UEFA Champions League. He is the only player (with Ronaldo) to be a three-time FIFA World Player of the Year. Zidane was also named as the European Footballer of the Year in 1998. He retired from professional football after the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Honours:

Bordeaux
UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1995

Juventus
European Super Cup: 1996
Intercontinental Cup: 1996
Italian Super Cup: 1997
Serie A: 1996-97, 1997-98
UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1999

Real Madrid
UEFA Champions League: 2001-02
European Super Cup: 2002
Intercontinental Cup: 2002
La Liga: 2002-03
Spanish Super Cup: 2001, 2003

International
FIFA World Cup: 1998
UEFA European Championship: 2000

Individual
Ballon d’Or awarded to Zidane in 1998. UEFA Team of the Year – 2001, 2002, 2003
UEFA Champions League Best Midfielder – 1998
UEFA Club Footballer of the Year – 2002
UEFA European Championship Player of the Tournament – 2000
UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament – 2000, 2004
FIFA World Cup Golden Ball – 2006
FIFA World Cup All-Star Team – 1998, 2006
France Division 1 Best Young Player – 1994
France Division 1 Best Player – 1996
Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year – 1997, 2001
Serie A Footballer of the year – 2001
French Player of the Year – 1998, 2002
Ballon D’or – 1998
Onze d’Or – 1998, 2000, 2001
FIFA World Player 1st – 1998, 2000, 2003
FIFA World Player 2nd – 2006
FIFA World Plyaer 3rd – 1997, 2002
FIFPro World XI All-Star Team – 2005, 2006
UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll – 2004
FIFA 100

Orders
Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur: 1998.

  • Thierry Henry:

Thierry Henri famous French football player

Thierry Henry (born on 17th August 1977) is a French football striker currently playing for Spanish La Liga club FC Barcelona and the French national team.

Henry was born and brought up in the tough neighbourhood of Les Ulis, Essonne —a suburb of Paris— where he played for an array of local sides as a youngster and showed great promise as a goal-scorer. He was spotted by AS Monaco in 1990 and signed instantly, making his professional debut in 1994. Good form led to an international call-up in 1998, after which he signed for the Italian defending champions Juventus. He had a disappointing season playing on the wing, before joining Arsenal for £10.5 million in 1999.

It was at Arsenal that Henry made his name as a world-class footballer. Despite initially struggling in the Premiership, he emerged as Arsenal’s top goal-scorer for almost every season of his tenure there. Under long-time mentor and coach Arsène Wenger, Henry became a prolific striker and Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer with 226 goals in all competitions. The Frenchman won two league titles and three FA Cups with the Gunners; he was twice nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year, was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year twice, and the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year three times. Henry spent his final two seasons with Arsenal as club captain, leading them to the UEFA Champions League final in 2006. In June 2007, after eight years with Arsenal, he transferred to FC Barcelona for a fee of €24 million.

Henry enjoyed similar success with the French national team, having won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000. In October 2007, he surpassed Michel Platini’s record to become France’s top goal-scorer of all times. Off the pitch, as a result of his own experience, Henry is an active spokesperson against racism in football. His footballing style and personality have ensured that he is one of the most commercially marketable footballers in the world; he has been featured in advertisements for Nike, Reebok, Renault, Pepsi and Gillette.

Honours:

Monaco
Ligue 1: 1996–97
French Super Cup: 1997

Arsenal
FA Premier League: 2001–02, 2003–04
FA Cup: 2002, 2003, 2005
FA Community Shield: 2002, 2004

International
FIFA World Cup: 1998
UEFA European Championship: 2000
Confederations Cup: 2003

Individual
Confederations Cup top goalscorer: 2003
Confederations Cup Golden Ball: 2003
PFA Players’ Player of the Year: 2002–03, 2003–04
FIFA 100
European Golden Boot: 2004, 2005
Premier League top scorer: 2001–02, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2005–06. Henry was also top scorer in all four league divisions in 2004 and 2006
Onze d’Or: 2003, 2006
PFA Team of the Year: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
FWA Footballer Of The Year: 2002–03, 2003–04, 2005–06
World XI Striker: 2006
UEFA Team of the Year: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006
French Player of the Year: 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
Time 100: 2007

Orders
Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur: 1998

  • Michel Platini:

Michel Platini famous French football player

Michel Platini (left) congratulating Spain’s Fernando Torres.

Michel Platini (born on June 21st, 1955) is a French former football player, manager and current president of the Union of European Football Associations.

Platini was a member of the French national team that won the 1984 European Championship, a tournament in which he was voted the best player and top goalscorer.

He participated in the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cups, reaching the semi-finals in the last two. Platini, Alain Giresse, Luis Fernández and Jean Tigana together made up the “carré magique” (“magic square”), the group of midfield players that formed the heart of the French national team throughout the 1980s.

He is also widely regarded as one of the best passers in football history as well as one of the greatest free kick specialists and finishers of all times. He holds the record for most goals (9) scored in European Championship final tournaments despite only appearing in one such tournament (1984).

Platini was named Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honour on April 29th, 1985 and became Officier (Officer) in 1988. He was the French national team’s coach for four years, and was the co-organizer of the 1998 World Cup in France. He has also been the chairman of the FIFA Technical and Development Committee, and vice-president of the French Football Federation.

Honours:

Individual honours
1976
France Football French Player of the Year
1977
France Football French Player of the Year
L’Équipe French Champion of Champions
1979
Selected in FIFA XI to play Argentina
1982
Selected in Europe team to face FIFA XI in charity match for UNICEF
1983
Capocannoniere (top scorer) in Italian championship (16 goals)
Coppa Super Clubs player of the tournament
Chevron Award (best goal per game ratio in Italian league)
European Footballer of the Year
Onze d’Or
1984
Capocannoniere (top scorer) in Italian championship (20 goals)
European Championship player of the tournament
European Championship top goalscorer (9 goals)
European Footballer of the Year
Guerin Sportivo magazine’s player of the Italian championship
L’Équipe French Champion of Champions
Onze d’Or
World Soccer Player of the Year
1985
Capocannoniere (top scorer) in Italian championship (18 goals)
Chevron Award (best goal per game ratio in Italian league)
European Cup top scorer (7 goals)
Knight of the Legion of Honour
European Footballer of the Year
Onze d’Or
World Club Championship final, Man of the Match
World Soccer Player of the Year
1987
English Football League Centenary Classic match, Man of the Match
1988
Officer of the Legion of Honour
1991
El País European Coach of the Year
World Soccer Manager of the Year
1992
Winter Olympics, Albertville, France, lighter of the Olympic Flame with François-Cyrille Grange
2003
Artemio Franchi Prize
2004
Named in FIFA 100
2007
Elected UEFA President.

Club honours

Nancy
1975 French second division champion
1978 French Cup winner
Saint-Étienne
1981 French league champion
1981 French Cup runner-up
1982 French Cup runner-up

Juventus
1983 Coppa Super Clubs winner
1983 Italian Cup winner
1983 European Cup runner-up
1984 European Cup Winners’ Cup winner (first French player to win the trophy)
1984 European Super Cup winner
1984 Italian league champion
1985 European Cup winner
1985 World Club Championship winner
1986 Italian league champion

International honours
1984 European Championship winner
1985 Artemio Franchi Trophy winner
1986 World Cup third place
1976 Pre-Olympic Zone European
During Platini’s international career, France were five times holders of Nasazzi’s baton, and Platini was captain on the third, fourth, and fifth occasion that the French national team held the unofficial title while he was an international.

  • Fabien Barthez:

Fabien Barthez famous French goal keeper

Fabien Barthez (born on 28th June 1971 in Lavelanet) is a former French football goalkeeper who won honours with Manchester United and the French national team, with whom he won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000 and reached the final of the 2006 World Cup.

He shares the record for the most World Cup finals clean sheets with Peter Shilton, with 10. Professionally, he has kept goal for his clubs to a Champions League title and several Ligue 1 and Premier League titles.

Honours:

Toulouse
French Cadet Championship: 1987

Marseille
UEFA Champions League: 1993
Ligue 2: 1995
UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2005

Monaco
Ligue 1: 1997, 2000
French Champions Trophy: 1997

Manchester United
Premier League : 2000-01, 2002-03

International
FIFA World Cup: 1998
UEFA European Championship: 2000
FIFA Confederations Cup: 2003

Individual
Yashin Award: 1998
Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year: 1998
IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper: 2000
European Footballer of the Year Best Goalkeeper: 1998, 2000
Most-capped France goalkeeper: 87
All-time France World Cup appearances: 17
Most World Cup clean sheets: 10 (with Peter Shilton)

Orders
Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur: 1998

Other very famous French soccer players: Franck Ribéry, Patrick Vieira, Frank Leboeuf, Bixente Lizarazu, Lilian Thuram, Christian Karembeu, Youri Djorkaeff, Robert Pirès, David Trezeguet, Éric Cantona, Jean-Pierre Papin, Laurent Blanc, Sylvain Wiltord.

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