In this article, we are going to list the highest scorers in the history of Ligue 1 over the last 40 years.
Regarding the top 10 Ligue 1 goal scorers of the last 40 years, it is worth mentioning that Ligue 1 is usually considered as the poor cousin of the big five leagues in Europe, but that hasn't prevented attracting some of the best goal scorers in the world. As of January 2021, French legend Jean-Pierre Papin remains the top scorer in the history of the competition over the last forty years, but his position may be threatened over the next few seasons.
Edinson Cavani was in the course of catching Papin, but he appears set to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer to go back to Serie A. The major threat to Papin is likely to come from Kylian Mbappe, with the PSG star already on its way to racking up a century of goals in Ligue 1.
The 21-year-old is expected to make his way into the top 10 in the next season and is currently Papin's only rational contender. A move abroad would simply stop Mbappe from raising to the top of the list, but it wouldn't come as a surprise to see him return to France to claim a record later in his career.
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Without further ado, let's see who are the top 10 Ligue 1 goal scorers of the last 40 years.
Jean-Pierre Roger Guillaume Papin (born November 5, 1963) is a French former footballer who played as a forward and was named Ballon d'Or and IFFHS World's Top Goal Scorer in 1991.
Papin is currently the manager of the French National 2 Championnat C'Chartres Football Club.
He is one of the Ligue 1 top scorers of all time.
Papin accomplished his biggest triumph while playing for Marseille between 1986 and 1992.
He then played for A.C. Milan, FC Bayern Munich, Bordeaux, Guingamp, JS Saint-Pierroise and Cap-Ferret.
Papin has also played 54 times for the French National Team.
After a brief period as manager of French clubs, he joined the local amateur club AS Facture-Biganos Boien as a player in 2009, at the age of 45.
Papin was recognized for his goalscoring, striking abilities, and volleys, which his fans nicknamed Papinades in his honor.
In 1996, after their eight-month-old daughter Emily had been shown to have severe brain injuries, Jean-Pierre and his wife, Florence, set up an association called "Neuf de Coeur" (Nine of Hearts; Papin's shirt number was 9) to help others in this situation and, in particular, to discover and apply methods for the mental and physical education of such children.
In a 17-year career in many of Europe's top leagues, he scored almost 350 goals in more than 620 matches to place himself among the Ligue 1 top scorers of all time.
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Pedro Miguel Carreiro Resendes, ComM, OIH (born 28 April 1973), regarded as Pauleta, is a retired Portuguese professional footballer who played as a striker.
He is one of the highest goal scorers in Ligue 1 history.
He never played in the Primeira Liga during 18 years as a senior, having spent 12 of those campaigns in Spain and France.
He had his most prosperous time in Paris Saint-Germain, where he scored 109 goals in all competitions.
Three times the top goal scorer in Ligue 1, he was also voted twice as the division's player of the season.
Pauleta also produced 47 goals in 88 games for Portugal, a national record at the time of his retirement.
He partcipated in two World Cups and two European Championships for his country.
Pauleta joined Paris Saint-Germain FC in the ahead of the 2003-04 season, signing a three-year contract for a €12 million transfer agreement.
He assisted the capital in its first silverware in six years by scoring the only goal of the 2004 French Cup final against LB Chateauroux, and continued his goal scoring exploits in the league, netting 18 times in 37 competitions as they finished the league in second place
Pauleta registered his first hat-trick for Paris Saint-Germain against the former Bordeaux club on 2 April 2006 when the hosts won 3–1.
Despite the reported interest of defending champions Olympique Lyonnais, he remained on the sidelines for the 2006 French Cup;
he scored his 99th and 100th overall goals for the side in noble manner, a fabulous volley and a textbook header, respectively, to prove himself as one of the Ligue 1 top scorers of all time.
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Edinson Roberto Cavani Gomez (born February 14, 1987) is a Uruguayan professional footballer who plays as a striker for the Premier League club Manchester United and the Uruguay National Team.
He is one of the Ligue 1 top scorers of all time.
Cavani started his career playing for Danubio in Montevideo, where he stayed for two years, before moving to the Italian side of Palermo in 2007.
He spent four seasons in the club, scoring 34 goals in 109 league appearances.
In 2010, Cavani agreed to sign an initial loan agreement with Napoli before buying it for a total fee of €17 million.
In the 2011–12 season, he earned his first club honour, the Coppa Italia, in which he was the highest goalscorer with five goals.
With Napoli, Cavani scored 33 goals each in his first two seasons, followed by 38 goals in his third season, where he also ended as Serie A's top scorer with 29 league goals.
On 16 July 2013, Cavani was relocated to Paris Saint-Germain for €64 million, at the time, the most expensive signing in French football history.
With PSG, Cavani has won six Ligue 1 titles, five Coupes de la Ligue and four Coupes de France.
He won the Ligue 1 Player of the Year for the 2016–17 season and was the league's top scorer for the 2016–17 and 2017–18 seasons.
He's also ranked as the club's all-time top goal scorer, one of the highest goal scorers in Ligue 1 history.
In 2020, Cavani signed an agreement with Manchester United.
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Anderson da Silva (born 19 September 1970), known as Sonny or Anderson, is a former Brazilian professional footballer who played as a striker and was one of the Ligue 1 top goal scorers ever.
A remarkable club-level goal scorer, he was known best for his spells with Lyon, Monaco (he played most of his foreign career in France, amassing Ligue 1 totals of 221 matches and 138 goals) and Barcelona.
Anderson participated with Brazil in the 2001 Confederations Cup.
Born in Goiatuba, Goias, Anderson started to play professionally with CR Vasco da Gama, but was unable to make an early impression.
After failing to net in 18 matches in his last year, he decided to move to Guarani FC.
Anderson's first abroad experience came with Servette FC, and his influence was immediate, scoring 18 goals in his first season, then helping the club win the national league in the following season, creating 11 goals in just the first half of the campaign, as he left for Olympique de Marseille in January 1994.
After playing an instrumental role in Villarreal's 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup win, Anderson finished his career in Qatar.
He returned to Lyon, working with the team's strikers, remaining one of the Ligue 1 top scorers of all time.
In June 2007, Anderson played a good-bye match at the Stade de Gerland in a match facing his friends and the 2002 French champions.
Four years later, he renounced his connection with Lyon and began his coaching career, joining Neuchatel Xamax in Switzerland.
He was sacked on July 24, after only two league games.
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Lilian Laslandes (born 4 September 1971) is a former French professional footballer who played as a forward.
He was capped seven times between 1997 and 1999 and netted three goals for the French National Team.
He finished his professional football career at OGC Nice in 2008.
He is indeed one of the Ligue 1 highest goal scorer of all time.
Laslandes was born in the city of Pauillac, Gironde.
He initiated his professional career at a rather late age of 20, starting at the Saint-Seurin club, where he scored 10 goals in his 33 club appearances.
AJ Auxerre took note of his talent and acquired him at the end of the season.
He went on to make 125 appearances (20 of them played at European level) for the club and scored 47 goals – two of which were scored in European cups.
Laslandes then moved to Girondins de Bordeaux for a free transfer on 1 August 1997.
He was signed for his amazing record of scoring, and he lived to his name, producing 47 goals in 119 club appearances.
Foreign clubs began to take notice of the Frenchman and his repeatable ability to score goals, including some from England, Germany and Spain.
Bordeaux brought the striker back to the club at the early stages of the 2004–05 season, where he had found greatness earlier, but when he got older, he never found his old form, only scored nine goals in 41 starts for the French club.
Considering that, he managed to remain one of the Ligue 1 top goal scorers ever.
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Bafetimbi Gomis (born 6 August 1985) is a French professional footballer who plays for the Saudi Al-Hilal club as a striker and is one of the Ligue 1 top scorers of all time.
Gomis played youth football with Saint-Etienne before creating his professional debut at the club in 2004, and also spent time on a loan at Troyes in Ligue 2.
In 2009, he joined Saint-Etienne's Derby du Rhone rivals Lyon for a fee of €13 million.
Over five seasons at the Stade Gerland, he played 244 official games and scored 95 goals, winning the Coupe de France and the Trophee des Champions in 2012.
In 2014, he shifted to the Swansea City Premier League Club for a free transfer.
After a loan back to France in Marseille, he signed for Galatasaray, where he was the top scorer to win the Super Lig in 2018.
Gomis made 12 appearances for the French National Team between 2008 and 2013, netting three goals.
He was a member of the UEFA Euro 2008 squad.
On 29 July 2009, Olympique Lyonnais announced that they had signed a €13 million striker and that the player had consented to a five-year contract.
Gomis became the sixth player in French football history to move directly from Saint-Etienne to the Derby du Rhone arch-rivals Lyon.
During the first day of the 2011–12 Ligue 1 campaign, Gomis scored a 3–1 victory over Nice on 6 August 2011.
On September 24, he managed to score a first-half brace against Girondins de Bordeaux, with a 3-1 victory on his side.
He made himself one of the Ligue 1 highest goal scorer of all time.
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic (born 3 October 1981) is a Swedish professional footballer who plays for Serie A club A.C.Milan.
Ibrahimovic is widely considered to be one of the best strikers of all time.
He is one of the most decorated football players in the world, having won 31 trophies in his career.
He scored more than 560 career goals and has scored in each of the last four decades.
He can definitely be considered as one of the All-time top scorers of the French Ligue 1.
Brahimovic started his career at Malmo FF in 1999 and signed with Ajax two years later.
Ibrahimovic became one of the most successful forwards in Europe at Ajax, and two years later he left to sign for Juventus.
He excelled in Serie A in a strike partnership with David Trezeguet before joining Inter Milan's domestic rivals in 2006, winning the Capocannoniere (Serie A top scorer) in 2008–09 and winning three consecutive Serie A titles.
In the summer of 2009, he moved to Barcelona with one of the most costly transfers in the world, before returning to Italy the following season and joining Milan.
With them, he won another Serie A title in the 2010–11 season, before joining Paris Saint-Germain in July 2012.
In his four-season tenure in France, Ibrahimovic won a number of trophies, including four consecutive Ligue 1 titles, and was the top scorer in Ligue 1 for three season and obviously one of the Ligue 1 top scorers of all time.
In October 2015, he became the PSG's top goal scorer at the time.
In 2016, he joined Manchester United on a free transfer and won the FA Community Shield, the Football League Cup and the UEFA Europa League during his first season.
Ibrahimovic joined the American LA Galaxy club in 2018. Two years later, he returned to Milan.
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Andre-Pierre Christian Gignac (born 5 December 1985) is a French professional footballer who plays as a striker for Liga MX club Tigres UANL.
Gignac is characterized as a "powerful and dangerous" striker known for his "aerial presence".
He's personally known as "Dede" by his teammates and friends.
He is one of the All-time leading goal scorer of French Ligue 1.
Gignac started his career in his home department of Bouches-du-Rhone, playing for the local Fos and Martigues club.
In 2002, he journeyed into the Brittany region to join the Lorient professional club.
He remained at the club for two seasons, which included a loan to the Pau Amateur Club.
He then joined Toulouse in 2007, under questionable circumstances.
After early conflicts, Gignac achieved significance in the 2008–09 season, becoming the league's top scorer with 24 goals.
After the 2009–10 sub-par season with Toulouse, Gignac joined the Marseille champions in August 2010 on a five-year contract.
He netted 77 goals in 186 matches in all OM competitions, winning 2 successive Coupe de la Ligue titles and the 2011 Trophee des Champions.
After his contract had ended, he moved to Mexico to play for Tigres UANL, where he became the club's all-time top scorer in all competitions as well as being one of the All-time top scorers of the French Ligue 1.
Gignac is an international Frenchman who made his debut with the team in April 2009 against Lithuania as a result of his good form with Toulouse.
Five months later, he scored his first international goal against the Faroe Islands.
Gignac made his country's first big global appearance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with the team competing in all three matches.
He also represented his country at the 2016 UEFA Euro, where they were runners-up.
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Jimmy Julien Briand (born 2 August 1985) is a French professional footballer who plays the Girondins de Bordeaux Ligue 1 side.
He started his career as a striker, but now he's typically deployed on the wings.
Briand is a graduate of the Clairefontaine Academy and a young French international.
From 2008 to 2012, he made five appearances for the France Senior Team, making his debut against Romania on 11 October 2008.
Jimmy is one of the All-time leading goal scorer of French Ligue.
Briand joined EA Guingamp's Ligue 1 rival, Girondins de Bordeaux, on a two-year contract on 10 August 2018.
He was released by Guingamp only three weeks before he joined Bordeaux, with a year left on his contract with Guingamp.
He had a "moral agreement" that he wouldn't join another Ligue 1 club.
Briand had sealed an early deal to join the Major League Soccer Club Montreal Impact, but it fell through on 26 July 2018.
On 31 August 2019, Briand managed to score an equalizer for Bordeaux, in a draw of 1-1 versus Olympique Lyonnais, to become only the second player to score in 15 different Ligue 1 seasons in the 21st century, following in the footsteps of Souleymane Camara.
Briand is considered as one of the Ligue 1 top scorers of all time.
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Alexandre Lacazette (born 28 May 1991) is a French professional footballer who plays as a forward for the Premier League club Arsenal and the French national team.
He plays primarily as a striker, but has also been deployed as a second striker and a wide forward.
He is one of the Ligue 1 top scorers of all time.
Lacazette began his senior career in Lyon at the age of 19, after outshining as a member of the youth team.
Initially, he played as a winger, but he was turned into a striker.
During his time at the club, Lacazette formed into a frequent goal scorer, becoming famous for his brilliance in front of the goal.
In the 2014–15 season, he scored a league-high 27 goals and won the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award for his performance.
He got himself among the Ligue 1 top scorers of all time.
At the time, Lacazette was the subject of a club-record transfer to the English team Arsenal in 2017, when he moved from Lyon in a deal worth €46.5 million (€53 million).
Lacazette made his debut as a senior member of the French National Team in 2013, having represented his nation at all levels of youth.
He was a significant contributor to France's victory at the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, where he scored a game-winning goal in the final against Spain. He has scored three goals in 16 appearances for his nation.
List of Ligue 1 top scorers of all time: