Despite the club's current amateur status, Red Star has a rich history. The club was founded in 1897 under the name Red Star Club Français by French football legend Jules Rimet. Rimet later went on to serve as president of both the French Football Federation and FIFA. The FIFA World Cup trophy is named in his honour. Red Star is one of the founding members of Ligue 1 and have spent 19 seasons in the first division; the club's last stint being in 1974–75. In cup competitions, the club has won five Coupe de France titles, which is tied for fourth-best among clubs.
Red Star Football Club was founded on 21 February 1897 in a Parisian cafe by Jules Rimet and Ernest Weber under the name Red Star Club Français. The name is derived from the red star of Buffalo Bill or possibly in reference to Miss Jenny, a British governess who was adopted as the godmother of the club, who recommended the club be named after the historic shipping line, the Red Star Line. Upon its creation, Rimet installed Jean de Piessac as club president and one of his younger brothers as club secretary. The club was officially inaugurated on 12 March 1897 after Rimet signed the club's statutes and sent them to the USFSA, which, during this time, served as the head of French football. Members of the club were required to pay ₣100 a month to help the club meet its daily quota. Red Star officially joined the USFSA in 1898 and was inserted into the third-tier of the association's football league system. In the club's infancy, the team played in navy blue and white at the Champ de Mars. However, soon after, Red Star moved to Meudon playing on a terrace overlooking the Seine Valley. Midway through the year, de Piessac left his post as club president. Rimet quickly succeeded him and, by 1904, Red Star were playing in the first division of the USFSA league.
Red Star team in 1910
In 1907, Red Star changed its name to Red Star Amical Club after merging with Amical Football Club. Due to the merger, the club departed Meudon and moved to Grenelle. After three years in Grenelle, the club moved to Saint-Ouen in Seine-Saint-Denis to play in the newly built Stade de Paris. On 25 October 1909, the stadium was inaugurated following a match between Red Star and English club Old Westminsters. The stadium was later renamed to its present name today. With the USFSA becoming disorganized in the early 1900s, Red Star joined the newly created Ligue de Football Association (LFA) in 1910. In 1912, the club earned its first honour after winning the association's Ligue Nationale. In the same year, the club also finished runner-up to Étoile des Deux Lacs in the Trophée de France.
In 1919, the French Football Federation was created and months later, the Coupe de France. From 1920–1934, Red Star embarked on a remarkable uprising in which the club won four Coupe de France titles, achieved professional status, and were founding members of the French Division 1. The club's first Coupe de France victory came in 1921, when the club, led by French internationalsPierre Chayriguès, Paul Nicolas, Juste Brouzes, Lucien Gamblin and Maurice Meyer, defeated Olympique de Paris 2–1, courtesy of goals from Marcel Naudin and Robert Clavel. In the ensuing two seasons, Red Star won back-to-back Coupe de France titles. In 1922, the club defeated Stade Rennais UC 2–0 and, in 1923, Red Star beat Cette 4–2 to complete the hat trick. In 1926, Red Star completed a second merger, this time with its local rivals Olympique de Paris whom it had defeated just five years ago in a Coupe de France final. Due to the merger, Red Star changed its name to Red Star Olympique and dropped its navy blue and white combination for a simple white blouse. In 1928, Red Star won its fourth Coupe de France title of the decade defeating CA Paris 3–1 at the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in Colombes.
In July 1930, the National Council of the French Football Federation voted 128–20 in support of professionalism in French football. Red Star were among the first clubs to adopt the new statute and, subsequently, became professional and were founding members of the new league. In the league's inaugural season, Red Star were relegated after finishing in the bottom three of its group. As a result, the club played the following season in the inaugural season of the Division 2. Red Star won the league and returned to the first division for the 1934–35 season. Following the club's return to Division 1, Red Star switched its colors from white to the green and white that exists today.
Below are the notable former players who have represented Red Star in league and international competition since the club's foundation in 1897. To appear in the section below, a player must have played in at least 100 official matches for the club.