Thu 23 December 2021 | 11:30

Best French Footballers of 2021

An all-time rival to Germany, Italy, and other top European teams, France has always had something to say in the world of football. In this post, we are to see who the best French footballers of 2021 are.

Who are the best French soccer players in 2021? The list comprises of ten best French players in 2021 in different positions. Some of these players are also among the best French players in FIFA 21 video game.

Of course, being among the best French soccer players in 2021 doesn’t necessarily mean that one should be among the best French players in FIFA 21, too, as it’s really so and some players on the former list are not actually on the latter one.

A List of Best French Footballers of 2021

Well, we’re going to let you know who the

best French players

in 2021 have been. Stay with us.

Mike Maignan (Goalkeeper)

Our chosen goalkeeper on the list of

best French footballers of 2021

, Mike Maignan is a 26-year-old French goalkeeper who’s been serving the top Serie A club,

AC Milan

, since the start of 2021. He has also served PSG B team from 2012 to 2015, and the French club, Lille, since 2015. We should say he’s not a highly-decorated or even moderately-decorated goalkeeper. He has won only one club trophy, namely a Ligue 1 title with Lille in 2020-21 season, and an international trophy, actually UEFA Nations League, with the French national team in the same season.

It seems Maignan has been good enough to catch the attention of Milan’s scouts and so persuasive that the club has signed a 5-year contract with him. As they say, diving and quick reflexes are Maignan’s strong points. He’s also good at positioning himself and especially in one-on-one situations where he can utilize his quickness to rapidly break up the oncoming goalscoring opportunities for the opposition.

Maignan also does well as a sweeper-goalkeeper and has no problem coming off the line and take part in defensive play, however, he’s not yet good with his feet and is more a defensive than a playmaking goalkeeper, so you shouldn’t expect him to take part in offensive build-ups of his team. It should also be mentioned here that while with Lille, Maignan achieved a shot-stopping average which was well above Ligue 1 overall average. That has actually been measured using a stat called PSxG-xGA. The same stat was 0.13 for Maignan while it was -0.02 for the Ligue 1 overall. And maybe that’s why the Rossoneri snatched him away.

Christopher Nkunku (Attacking Midfielder)

Of Congolese decent,

Christopher Nkunku

is a 24-year-old French footballer who’s been serving the Bundesliga club, RB Leipzig, and can play both as an attacking midfielder or a winger. Before RB Leipzig he actually served PSG for five years between 2014 and 2019 and managed to win nine club trophies with them including three Ligue 1 titles. He has also served France under-aged national teams (U16, U19, U20, and U21) and there is talk that with his good performance with them, he could be even called up to the French senior national team sooner or later.

In general, Nkunku has good dribbling, passing, and technical abilities plus that, overall, he’s a dynamic player who excels best in the center of the field where he can distribute, set up attacks for his teammates, and even take part in offenses, though he played mostly on the wings in the early years of his career. He’s also hard to mark and often confuses defenders with his quick movements and draws fouls from them. They say Nkunku is most inspired by the 37-year-old Brazilian defender, Thiago Silva, about him he once said: “I’m inspired by his game. He’s not the biggest, but he knows how to use his body on the pitch.”

Kingsley Coman (Winger)

One of the highly-decorated footballers on the list of

best French footballers of 2021

, Kingsley Coman is a 25-year-old French winger who has served only three top clubs up to this date (December 2021): PSG, Juventus, and Bayern Munich - in chronological order. He has won 24 club trophies up until now including two Ligue 1 and two Serie A titles and six consecutive Bundesliga titles from 2015 to 2021 plus that he also won a UEFA Nations League with the French national team in 2021.


is not only one of the best French players in 2021 but also one of the most promising young talents of his generation. Maybe the best quality of him is his speed which has been described as exceptional or explosive by those who have seen him in play. He’s also a very good and potent cross sender and can play on both wings, however, since his preferred foot is right, he does better on the right flank and also sends better crosses from there. In defensive play, the 25-year-old French winger is a tough one and often tries to dispossess the player in possession of the ball by pressing him up, and when he regains possession, he could pose a threat to the opposition by his bursts of running.

Paul Pogba (Midfielder)

He has served


for four years between 2012 and 2016, but he has made a name for himself in Manchester United whom he’s been serving since 2016, though he has won more club trophies with Juventus than with Manchester United at least up to this date (December 2021). In fact, Pogba also served Man Utd for a season before he joined Juventus in 2012, so, we  have a reunion here and one which costed Man Utd €105 million in 2016; a record transfer fee paid by an English club at the time. Pogba was also part of the French national team who won the 2018 edition of FIFA World Cup and UEFA Nations League in 2020-21 season.

Although primarily a central midfielder,


has also played as a winger or a defensive or attacking midfielder. He excels best in the center of the field and is considered a deep-lying playmaker. When in Italy, they called him either Polpo Paul, meaning Paul the Octopus in English, for his long legs that look like those of an Octopus or Pogboom for his energetic playstyle and explosive runs.

The 28-year-old French midfielder majorly acts as a link between the defense and offense lines of his team. He’s actually a key figure in driving his team forward both with and without ball, and when with the ball, he’s more of a threat due to his penetrative passes both through and over the opponents. Maybe that’s enough proof to Pogba’s professionalism that his former teammate, Gianluigi Buffon, compared his playmaking abilities to those of the legendary footballers, Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane.

Adrien Rabiot (Midfielder)

You may have heard his name not as frequent as Paul Pogba, nevertheless, he’s one of the best French footballers of 2021.


has been serving the top Serie A club, Juventus, since 2019, but he has also served PSG during his career; actually for seven years between 2012 and 2019. He’s also one of the highly-decorated footballers on the list with 21 club trophies won to this date (December 2021) of which 18 he won within the French football and with PSG.

Rabiot plays mostly as a central midfielder but he’s also ok with defensive roles capable of providing cover to his team’s defense line when they are out of their positions. His biggest ability is protecting the ball while under pressure and to do it he uses his arms and core to keep the opponent away from the ball while he searches for an opportunity to pass. In defensive play, Rabiot again uses his physicality to dispossess the opposition or disrupt their attacks. He’s also good at pressing the opponents and reduce the space they need to pass or attack. At Juventus, his main role is to stay in the center and null any attempt for a through penetration.

Antoine Griezmann (Forward)

Maybe he’s not a young talent, but Antoine Griezmann is for sure one of the

best French footballers of 2021

. In fact, he’s popular enough to be known by almost everyone and maybe he gained that popularity when he joined Barcelona in 2019 for a transfer fee of €120 million becoming the fifth expensive footballer ever in the history of football. It might be interesting for you to know that although Griezmann is French, he has never played outside the Spanish football. The clubs he has served till this date (December 2021) are Real Sociedad, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona with the two former getting a share of 5 years from Griezmann’s years of service each.



is a forward, he has also played as an attacking midfielder, second striker, or as a winger on both flanks. He’s not a prolific goalscorer - he has scored almost two goals in every 5 appearances, however, he’s still known for his goalscoring capabilities and especially that he’s an accurate finisher with both of his feet and even an accurate finisher with his head despite his short stature - he’s only 1.76m tall. One prominent feature of Griezmann’s play is his dropping into deep positions to receive passes and advances the offensive. He does that in a way that confuses the opposition’s defense whether whose responsibility is to stop him, therefore leaving him with more space to move freely.  In general, Griezmann is a versatile forward with the qualities of both a number nine and ten who can take on several jobs and threat the opposition in different ways.

Theo Hernandez (Defender) 

Our only defender on the list of best French footballers of 2021, Theo Hernandez is a 24-year-old French defender who’s been playing for the top Serie A club, AC Milan, since 2019. He has also the experience of serving

Real Madrid

and winning four club trophies with them including a UEFA Champions League title in 2017-18 season. Chelsea are having an eye for the top French defender for the next season to come, but AC Milan are also supposed to offer him a hefty pay rise for his new contract though based on the current contract Hernandez has with the Rossoneri, he should serve them until 2024.

The two prominent features of Hernandez is his incredible pace and dribbling abilities. He can switch from defense to attack and vice versa just in a matter of seconds. In fact, besides his defending abilities, Hernandez could act as a key factor in the offensive buildups of his team especially considering that he’s also good in passing with an overall passing accuracy of around 80%. Hernandez is also good in crossing and sending accurate long balls plus that as well as he can switch between attack and defense swiftly he can do the same between the flanks. In defensive work, the 24-year-old French left back does well in one-on-one situations and blocking the opposition passes. Overall, he has won more than half of his challenges to this date.

N'Golo Kante (Midfielder)

Another midfielder on the list of

best French footballers of 2021

, N'Golo Kante is a 30-year-old French midfielder who’s been serving the top Premier League club, Chelsea, since 2016. He is one of the highly-decorated footballers on the list with most of his awards being individual though he has also won 6 club trophies to this date (December 2021) and one FIFA World Cup, actually the 2018 edition of the competition, with the French national team. And maybe it’s interesting for you to know that Kante is the first outfield player since 1992 who has won consecutive Premier League titles with two different clubs, namely Leicester City and Chelsea.

Known for his bursting energy and top ball-winning abilities,

N'Golo Kante

is also a tactical-aware and intelligent player who can start counter-attacks from the back and work as a playmaker in the center of the field. Kante cites the top French footballers, Lassana Diarra and Claude Makelele, as his inspirations, however, he also says that he has his own playstyle and approach to the game.

Kante’s main responsibility is retrieving the ball in any possible way - they call it the dirty work - which may not be favorable to him, however, he once mentioned that recovering the ball and protecting his team from opposition’s attacks was his satisfaction. It might be interesting for you to know that there has come to be an expression about Kante on social media which says: “2/3 of the earth is covered by water, Kante covers the rest,” referring to the fact that the top French player covers almost every corner on the pitch though his main responsibility lies in the center.

Karim Benzema (Forward)

You should probably know Karim Benzema even if you’re not a hardcore football fan. He’s Real Madrid’s 37-year-old French forward who’s been serving the club since 2009 and has made quite a name for himself so that not only he is considered as one of the best French footballers of 2021 but also one of the best strikers in the world. It might be interesting for you to know that the fee for which Benzema was transferred from Lyon to Real Madrid in 2009 (€35 million) was a then record transfer fee. Concerning the number of club trophies won, Benzema is also the highest decorated footballer among the

best French soccer players in 2021

with 25 club trophies won to this date (December 2021) including four consecutive Ligue 1 and 3 La Liga titles. And Benzema has also a number of individual honors to his name among which are three French Player of the Year awards in 2011, 2012, and 2014, and UEFA Champions League top assist provider in 2011-12 season.

Karim Benzema

is often considered as a potent striker with a great power of shooting both inside and outside of the box. He prefers to shoot with the inside of his foot and mostly to the corners of the goal, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fire powerful shots that goalkeepers cannot react to in time. Maybe one of the most prominent features of Benzema is that he doesn’t need so much space for a back-lift before shooting and that means he can even send powerful shots from within the box.

Another strength of the 37-year-old French forward is his positioning. He likes to position himself deep or wide and often escapes the marking  of even the most experienced of defenders, and his positioning in front of goal lets him need less time before shooting often shooting with the first touch. And this is not only his positioning that has got him fame but also his repositioning which allows him to always find new spaces for attacking and at the same time a hard target to mark.

Kylian Mbappe (Forward)

Among the

best French players in FIFA 21

with a rating of 90, Kylian Mbappe is also one of the top French players in the real world. He’s been serving the top French club, PSG, since 2018, and you might not believe it, but he has scored 126 goals in his 151 appearances for the French club with 87 of his goals  and 97 of his appearances being at league level, indeed, up to this date (December 2021). You see, just a few more goals and we can say he has scored one goal in every of his appearances for the French club. No doubt that he’s a prolific goalscorer but that’s not his only prominent feature.

Maybe the proof to


being a highly-talented footballer is the Arsene Wenger’s quote calling him a huge football talent with similarities to Thierry Henry and the media comparing him to the football legend, Pele, after his top performances in 2018 FIFA World Cup. The two top qualities of Mbappe are, for sure, his pace and his finishing which combined remain one of the highest values of a player no matter how football evolves. Although a center forward, Mbappe mostly tends to to pull to the left and then cut inside and finish with his right foot, and the interesting fact here is that although many defenders know what is to come of him, they still cannot stop him in his tracks.

About Mbappe’s finishing, we should say there is no specific way of finishing he is accustomed to, and that is actually a point of strength in him. He’s not only capable of dribbling the goalkeeper very much like the Brazilian former star, Ronaldo, but also can score with a shot both when under pressure from a chasing defender and when he has enough time to plan his shot. Mbappe is also good in one-on-one situations no matter he has enough space or not which in the latter case - we mean when not - he beats his opponent through a quick change of direction and escaping. He has also won some individual awards like two French Player of the Year awards in 2018 and 2019, ten club trophies including three consecutive Ligue 1 titles from 2017 to 2020 with PSG, and a FIFA World Cup - actually the 2018 edition - with the French national team.


source: SportMob

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