Arguably, France have been the best international side in the past 30 years, having reached four World Cup Finals (winning two, tied with Brasil). But at club level, this year actually marks 30 years since the last (and only) time a French team has won the UEFA Champions league, when Marseille beat AC Milan 1-0 to bring international silverware to the French riviera.
But French goalscoring talent has been remarkable across Europe, if not always in France. Per @statsdufoot, below is the list of the top five French goalscorers across the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and La Liga.
#5: Wissam Ben Yedder (172 goals)
32-year-old Ben Yedder has been at Monaco since 2019, but also plied his trade at both Sevilla and Toulouse during the 2010s. In the 2019/20 season, he shared Ligue 1’s golden boot with Kylian Mbappé, both scoring 18 goals. This is quite impressive, given that Kylian Mbappé has been Ligue 1’s top scorer every season since the 2018/19 season.
#4: Jean-Pierre Papin (177 goals)
The retired striker will turn 60 later this year, but his prolific firepower at Marseille saw him win the Ligue 1 golden boot for five consecutive years, between 1987 and 1992. Moving to AC Milan in 1992, he lost the 1993 UCL Final to his former club, but won it the following year. He then went on to play for both Bayern Munich and Bordeaux.
#3: David Trezeguet (187 goals)
The 45-year-old spent much of his career outside of France, playing most notably at Juventus between 2000 and 2010. He is their fourth-highest all-time goalscorer. Trezeguet is also well known for having scored the golden goal that brought France the European Championship in 2000, netting in the 103rd minute to beat Italy in added extra time.
#2: Thierry Henry (233 goals)
The Frenchman is Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier League, but his career began at Monaco. One year before Trezeguet, Henry transferred for to Juventus, but only stayed for half a season. His move to Arsenal took place in summer of 1999, and the rest is history. A shorter stint later at Barcelona saw him win the UEFA Champions League in 2009.
#1: Karim Benzema (270)
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Starting out at Lyon at 17, the now 35-year-old striker has been instrumental in Real Madrid’s recent history. Playing for Los Blancos since 2009, Benzema recently overtook Raúl González for the second spot on Madrid’s list of all-time goalscorers. With four La Liga titles and five Champions League titles to his name, Benzema has been a mainstay of European football for the past decade, culminating in a Ballon d’Or win last year.