List of France national football team captains

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Midfielder Didier Deschamps captained the French national football team to victory at FIFA World Cup 1998 and Euro 2000.

The France national football team (French: Equipe de France) represents the nation of France in international association football. It is fielded by the French Football Federation (FFF) (French: Fédération Française de Football) and competes as a member of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). The team played its first official international match on 1 May 1904 against Belgium.[1][2] Since its first competitive match, more than 800 players have made at least one international appearance for the team.[3] Of them, 105 have served as captain of the national team. This list contains football players who have served as captain of the French national team and is listed according to their number of matches captained.

The France national team's record appearance-maker as captain is Didier Deschamps, who led the team out 52 times during his 103-cap tenure, which lasted through three decades. Deschamps is also the most successful France captain, having worn the armband, an indicator of the team's captain, in team victories at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000.[4] The Bayonne-born midfielder surpassed the previous record-holder of the France captaincy, midfielder Michel Platini, in the team's semi-final match at the latter competition. Platini became the first France captain to win a major international competition after leading the team in the 1984 European Football Championship. Aside from Deschamps and Platini, only two other players have captained France over 40 occasions, defenders Roger Marche and Marcel Desailly. Marche is one of two French captains to lead the team at two FIFA World Cup competitions. Desailly captained the team to victories at the 2001 and 2003 editions of the FIFA Confederations Cup. He is one of four players to be sent off in a FIFA World Cup final; one of the other three being fellow France captain Zinedine Zidane.

History[edit]

The first captain of the France national team was Fernand Canelle, who captained the national team in its first international match against Belgium on 1 May 1904.[5][6] Canelle went on to captain France only once more in a 7–0 defeat to Belgium in 1905.[7] The team's next captain was Pierre Allemane, who had previously captained a team representing France at the 1900 Summer Olympics. However, this occurred when the team was under the supervision of the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques (USFSA), a federation sports union that supported amateur sport. Under the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) governing body, Allemane is the only French player to wear the armband in all of his national team appearances.[8] Aside from Canelle and Allemane, Gaston Barreau, René Bonnet, Étienne Jourde, and Robert Lemaître are the only other players to ever captain the national team on their debuts.[9][10][11] Bonnet's captaincy is notable due in part to the fact that it was his only appearance with the national team.[12] The first player to captain France in a major international competition while playing under FIFA was André François. He led the team at the football tournament in the 1908 Summer Olympics and captained France to the worst loss in national team and competition history, a 17–1 loss to Denmark.[13] One of the first permanent captains of the national team was Jean Ducret.[14] He captained the team 13 times between 1910–1914.[15]

"There’s nothing more beautiful than the national team and I appreciated every cap, be it the first, 50th or 100th. But yes, my proudest moment is that victory and that team, because we could overcome any obstacle, hated defeat and always stepped onto the pitch to win. It was a privilege to captain that team."

Didier Deschamps on captaining the France team that won the 1998 FIFA World Cup.[16]

Alexandre Villaplane captained France in its first FIFA World Cup match in 1930 and went on to captain the team in the entire tournament.[17] Maurice Cottenet was the first goalkeeper to captain the national team. Alex Thépot was the second and bore the armband at the 1934 FIFA World Cup.[18] The team's first captain after World War II was Alfred Aston. Aston captained the team for the first time in its first match following the conclusion of the war, a 3–1 win over Belgium on Christmas Eve 1944, and subsequently led the team out six more times. Following Aston, the captaincy was rotated among striker Jean Baratte and defenders Roger Marche and Robert Jonquet. Marche and Jonquet alternated the armband at the 1954 and 1958 editions of the FIFA World Cup. Following the retirement of Baratte, Marche took primary control of the captaincy and guided the team until his international retirement in 1960. The former Stade de Reims defender held the record of captaining France the most until he was surpassed by Michel Platini in 1986. Platini is the first France captain to lead the team to victory in a major international competition. He accomplished this feat at UEFA Euro 1984. In 2000, Platini was surpassed by Didier Deschamps, who captained France to its first FIFA World Cup title in 1998.[19] Deschamps surpassed Platini during UEFA Euro 2000 in the team's semi-final match against Portugal. France won the match, 2–1. In the final, France defeated Italy, giving Deschamps his second major honour as captain.[20] Deschamps was succeeded by Marcel Desailly, who ranks second in captaining France the most. Desailly captained France to victory at both the 2001 and 2003 editions of the FIFA Confederations Cup.[21][22]

From 2004 to 2010, when Raymond Domenech managed the national team, the captaincy regularly alternated between Patrick Vieira and Zinedine Zidane. The former player was given the captaincy first, but handed it over to Zidane when he returned to the team in 2005.[23][24] Zidane subsequently wore the armband at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and became the first French captain and just the fourth player in association football history to be sent off in a World Cup final match.[25][26] Former teammate and captain Marcel Desailly is one of the other three.[27] Following Zidane's retirement, Vieira was designated captain of the team for its UEFA Euro 2008 campaign, however, injuries hampered his stint as captain and, as a result, defender Lilian Thuram led the team at the competition.[28][29] The last permanent captain of the team was the national team's all-time leading goalscorer, Thierry Henry. He first captained the team on 6 February 2008 in a friendly against Spain when he was given the armband following the substitution of Vieira.[30] He held onto the captaincy until a month before the 2010 FIFA World Cup following his relegation to a substitute's role. The armband was given to defender Patrice Evra who led the team at the competition.[31] Under manager Laurent Blanc, several players made their debuts as captains of the national team. In August 2010, Philippe Mexès captained the team for the first time.[32] The following month, Florent Malouda made his debut as captain.[33] In November, Hugo Lloris became the ninth goalkeeper in national team history to wear the armband and, in March, midfielder Samir Nasri captained the team for the first time.[34][35]

Captains[edit]

Appearances and matches captained are composed of FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Football Championship, FIFA Confederations Cup, and pre-World Cup Summer Olympics matches and each competition's required qualification matches, as well as numerous international friendly tournaments and matches. Players are initially listed by number of matches captained, followed by number of international caps attained. If the number of matches captained and the number of caps earned are equal, then the player who captained the national team first is listed first. Statistics correct as of 22 March 2019.

Key
§
Still active for the national team[nb 1]
Major international tournament captain
Captained the team at a major international tournament[nb 2]
GK Goalkeeper
DF Defender
MF Midfielder
FW Forward
An dark-haired man wearing a football jacket with a child in the foreground.
Hugo Lloris holds the record for most captaincies with France and has captained them to victory at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
An elderly dark-haired man wearing a black jacket and white dress shirt.
Michel Platini captained France to victory at UEFA Euro 1984.
A dark-skinned man wearing a black jacket.
Marcel Desailly captained France national football team to victory at both the 2001 and 2003 editions of the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Playmaker Zinedine Zidane captained France to the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final.
A dark-skinned man wearing a black fleece
Lilian Thuram captained France at UEFA Euro 2008.
A dark-haired man wearing a white shirt.
Laurent Blanc has captained France nine times.
A dark-haired man wearing a black jacket, white shirt, and black tie.
Eric Cantona captained France from 1993–1995.
A dark-skinned man wearing a black jacket and white dress shirt.
Patrick Vieira captained France infrequently from 2004 until retirement.
A dark-skinned man wearing a coat
Thierry Henry was the national team's captain from 2008 to 2010.
List of France national team football players who have served as captain of the team
# Name Position National team
career
Caps as captain Total caps First captaincy Ref
1 Hugo Lloris§ GK 2008–Major international tournament captain 85 109 17 November 2010 [36]
2 Didier Deschamps MF 1989–2000Major international tournament captain 54 103 22 March 1994 [37]
3 Michel Platini MF 1976–1987Major international tournament captain 50 72 5 September 1979 [38]
4 Marcel Desailly DF 1993–2004Major international tournament captain 49 116 6 September 1995 [21]
5 Roger Marche DF 1947–1959Major international tournament captain 42 63 4 June 1950 [39]
6 Manuel Amoros DF 1982–1992Major international tournament captain 30 82 18 November 1987 [40]
7 Zinedine Zidane MF 1994–2006Major international tournament captain 26 108 1 September 2001 [41]
8= Marius Trésor DF 1971–1983Major international tournament captain 24 65 9 October 1976 [42]
8= Jean Djorkaeff DF 1964–1972 24 48 30 April 1969 [43]
10= Thierry Henry FW 1997–2010Major international tournament captain 21 123 6 February 2008 [30]
10= Patrick Vieira MF 1997–2009Major international tournament captain 21 107 4 September 2004 [44]
12 Paul Nicolas FW 1920–1931Major international tournament captain 18 35 19 April 1925 [45]
13 Lilian Thuram DF 1994–2008Major international tournament captain 16 142 9 November 2005 [46]
14 Étienne Mattler DF 1930–1940Major international tournament captain 14 46 21 January 1934 [47]
15= Alex Thépot GK 1927–1935Major international tournament captain 13 31 15 March 1931 [18]
15= Jean Ducret MF 1910–1914 13 20 6 April 1910 [15]
17= Georges Bereta FW 1967–1975 12 44 8 September 1973 [48]
17= Edmond Delfour DF 1929–1938 12 41 10 June 1933 [49]
17= Jean Baratte FW 1944–1952 12 32 13 November 1949 [50]
20 Jean-Pierre Papin FW 1986–1995 11 54 26 August 1992 [51]
21= Bernard Bosquier FW 1964–1972 10 42 27 September 1967 [52]
21= Raymond Dubly DF 1913–1925Major international tournament captain 10 31 15 January 1922 [53]
23= Laurent Blanc DF 1989–2000Major international tournament captain 9 97 26 June 1996 [54]
23= Robert Jonquet DF 1948–1960Major international tournament captain 9 58 16 June 1954 [55]
23= Henri Michel MF 1967–1980 9 58 3 September 1975 [56]
23= Eric Cantona FW 1987–1995 9 45 17 November 1993 [57]
23= Alou Diarra MF 2004–2012Major international tournament captain 9 44 22 June 2010 [58]
23= Christian Lopez DF 1975–1982 9 39 2 February 1977 [59]
23= Franck Sauzée MF 1988–1993 9 39 28 March 1990 [60]
23= André Lerond DF 1957–1963 9 31 12 November 1961 [61]
23= Marcel Artelesa DF 1963–1966Major international tournament captain 9 21 9 October 1965 [62]
23= Lucien Gamblin MF 1911–1923 9 17 5 April 1920 [63]
33= Armand Penverne MF 1952–1959Major international tournament captain 7 39 6 October 1957 [64]
33= Alfred Aston MF 1934–1946 7 31 24 December 1944 [65]
33= Marcel Langiller FW 1927–1937 7 30 10 April 1932 [66]
33= Oscar Heisserer MF 1936–1948 7 25 26 May 1945 [67]
33= Pierre Allemane DF 1905–1908 7 7 12 February 1905 [8]
38= Maxime Bossis DF 1976–1986 6 76 23 March 1983 [68]
38= Raymond Kopa MF 1952–1962 6 45 28 February 1960 [69]
40= Luis Fernández MF 1982–1992 5 60 9 September 1987 [70]
40= Patrick Battiston DF 1977–1989Major international tournament captain 5 56 31 May 1983 [71]
40= Jean Vincent FW 1953–1961Major international tournament captain 5 46 16 March 1960 [72]
40= Patrice Evra DF 2004–2016Major international tournament captain 5 46 26 May 2010 [73]
40= Alexandre Villaplane MF 1926–1930Major international tournament captain 5 25 23 February 1930 [74]
40= Julien Darui GK 1939–1951 5 25 26 May 1947 [75]
40= Robert Herbin DF 1960–1968 5 23 18 April 1965 [76]
40= Henri Bard DF 1913–1923Major international tournament captain 5 18 18 January 1920 [77]
48= Franck Leboeuf DF 1995–2002Major international tournament captain 4 50 27 February 2001 [78]
48= Jean-Jacques Marcel MF 1953–1961 4 44 11 December 1960 [79]
48= Jules Dewaquez FW 1920–1929 4 41 24 April 1927 [80]
48= Pierre Bernard GK 1960–1965 4 21 25 December 1963 [81]
48= Claude Quittet DF 1967–1973 4 16 13 October 1972 [82]
48= Louis Mesnier MF 1904–1913 4 14 23 March 1911 [83]
48= Henri Pavillard MF 1928–1932 4 14 18 May 1930 [84]
48= Albert Batteux MF 1948–1949 4 8 27 April 1949 [85]
56= Fabien Barthez GK 1994–2006 2 87 18 August 2004 [86]
56= Eric Abidal DF 2002–2013 3 61 16 November 2007 [87]
56= Bernard Lama GK 1993–2000 3 44 16 August 1995 [88]
56= François Hugues DF 1919–1927 3 24 2 April 1923 [89]
56= Jules Vandooren DF 1933–1942 3 22 13 December 1936 [90]
56= Marcel Domergue MF 1922–1928 3 20 11 April 1926 [91]
56= Yvon Douis FW 1957–1965 3 20 29 September 1963 [92]
56= Jean Prouff MF 1946–1949 3 17 23 April 1949 [93]
56= Jean-Michel Larqué MF 1969–1976 3 14 24 April 1976 [94]
56= Robert Budzynski DF 1965–1967 3 11 28 September 1966 [95]
66= William Gallas DF 2002–2011 2 84 19 November 2008 [96]
66= Philippe Mexès DF 2002–2012 2 29 11 August 2010 [97]
66= René Ferrier MF 1958–1964 2 24 4 October 1964 [98]
66= Éric Di Meco DF 1989–1996 2 23 11 October 1995 [99]
66= Maurice Cottenet GK 1920–1927 2 18 22 March 1925 [100]
66= Gaston Barreau MF 1911–1914 2 12 30 April 1911 [9]
66= Étienne Jourde FW 1910–1914 2 8 3 April 1910 [10]
66= Fernand Canelle DF 1904–1908 2 6 1 May 1904 [101]
66= Daniel Eon GK 1966–1967 2 3 22 March 1967 [102]
75= Sylvain Wiltord FW 1999–2006 1 92 31 May 2005 [103]
75= Florent Malouda MF 2004–2012 1 80 3 September 2010 [104]
75= Robert Pires MF 1996–2004Major international tournament captain 1 79 20 June 2003 [105]
75= Jean Tigana MF 1980–1988 1 52 16 June 1987 [106]
75= Alain Giresse MF 1974–1986 1 47 28 March 1984 [107]
75= Roger Piantoni FW 1952–1961 1 37 27 November 1957 [108]
75= Georges Lech FW 1963–1973 1 35 11 November 1964 [109]
75= Samir Nasri MF 2007–2013 1 35 25 March 2011 [110]
75= Bruno Martini GK 1987–1996 1 31 27 May 1992 [111]
75= Antoine Cuissard MF 1946–1954 1 27 30 May 1954 [112]
75= Jean Nicolas FW 1933–1938 1 25 24 January 1937 [113]
75= Alain Roche DF 1988–1996 1 25 22 July 1995 [114]
75= Philippe Bonnardel MF 1920–1927 1 23 16 March 1927 [115]
75= Roger Courtois FW 1933–1947 1 22 23 March 1947 [116]
75= Jean-Marc Guillou MF 1974–1978 1 19 19 May 1978 [117]
75= Vincent Guérin MF 1993–1996 1 19 15 November 1995 [118]
75= Roger Rio MF 1933–1937 1 18 21 February 1937 [119]
75= Paul Le Guen MF 1993–1995 1 17 29 March 1995 [120]
75= Steve Mandanda§ GK 2008– 1 15 6 June 2011 [121]
75= Joseph Kaucsar MF 1931–1934 1 15 9 June 1932 [122]
75= Georges Verriest MF 1933–1936 1 14 9 May 1935 [123]
75= Gabriel Hanot DF 1908–1919 1 12 9 March 1919 [124]
75= André Chardar DF 1930–1933 1 12 5 June 1932 [125]
75= Marius Royet FW 1904–1908 1 9 10 May 1908 [126]
75= Albert Jourda MF 1914–1924 1 7 4 June 1924 [127]
75= André François DF 1906–1908 1 6 22 October 1908 [128]
75= Louis Cazal MF 1927–1930 1 6 11 May 1930 [129]
75= Jacques Mairesse DF 1927–1934 1 6 12 June 1932 [130]
75= Robert Lemaître DF 1953–1954 1 2 17 December 1953 [11]
75= René Bonnet DF 1914 1 1 8 February 1914 [12]

Timeline[edit]

Tenure Incumbent Others used when incumbent unavailable
1904–1905 Fernand Canelle
1905–1908 Pierre Allemane Marius Royet, André François
1910–1914 Jean Ducret Étienne Jourde, Louis Mesnier, Gaston Barreau
1920–1922 Lucien Gamblin Henri Bard
1922–1925 Raymond Dubly François Hugues
1925–1930 Paul Nicolas Jules Dewaquez, Marcel Domergue
1930 Alexandre Villaplane
1930–1931 Henri Pavillard
1931–1933 Alex Thépot Marcel Langiller
1933–1938 Edmond Delfour Étienne Mattler, Jules Vandooren
1938–1940 Étienne Mattler
1944–1946 Alfred Aston
1946–1948 Oscar Heisserer Julien Darui
1949–1952 Jean Baratte Roger Marche
1952–1959 Roger Marche Robert Jonquet, Armand Penverne, Raymond Kopa
1960–1961 Jean-Jacques Marcel
1961–1963 André Lerond
1965–1966 Marcel Artelesa
1967–1969 Bernard Bosquier
1969–1972 Jean Djorkaeff
1972–1973 Claude Quittet
1973–1975 Georges Bereta
1975–1976 Henri Michel
1976–1979 Marius Trésor Christian Lopez
1979–1987 Michel Platini Marius Trésor, Maxime Bossis, Patrick Battiston
1987–1988 Luis Fernández Manuel Amoros
1988–1992 Manuel Amoros Luis Fernández, Franck Sauzée
1992–1993 Jean-Pierre Papin
1993–1995 Éric Cantona
1995–2000 Didier Deschamps Marcel Desailly, Laurent Blanc
2000–2004 Marcel Desailly Zinedine Zidane
2004–2005 Patrick Vieira Fabien Barthez, Sylvain Wiltord
2005–2006 Zinedine Zidane Patrick Vieira, Lilian Thuram
2006–2008 Patrick Vieira Lilian Thuram
2008 Lilian Thuram Thierry Henry
2008–2010 Thierry Henry Patrick Vieira, Eric Abidal, William Gallas
2010 Patrice Evra Alou Diarra
2010–2012 Rotation Alou Diarra, Hugo Lloris, Eric Abidal, Philippe Mexès, Florent Malouda, Samir Nasri, Steve Mandanda
2012–present Hugo Lloris Blaise Matuidi, Raphaël Varane, Philippe Mexès, Mamadou Sakho

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Players who are still active for the national team are players who have not retired from international football and are, subsequently, eligible to be called up.
  2. ^ Includes FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Football Championship, FIFA Confederations Cup, and pre-World Cup Summer Olympics matches.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]