Five best English players in French history

Five best English players in French history

Publish on 03/16 at 11:32 - D. CROSSAN


Dijon's Stephy Mavididi is following in illustrious footsteps as a number of the forward's fellow Englishmen have graced the French game. Ligue1.com looks at the top five…


OM 1989-1992. Ligue 1 champion 1990, 1991, 1992. Coupe de France finalist 1991. European Cup finalist 1991.

"Le dribbleur fou" or the crazy dribbler was THE idol of the Stade Vélodrome at the end of the 1980s and the start of the 1990s. Loved for his style and impact, the winger signed from Tottenham Hotspur in 1989 lived up to his 45 million franc transfer fee, then the third highest in the world behind Diego Maradona and Ruud Gullit. The left-footed genius scored his most famous goal in the quarter-finals of the European Cup against AC Milan in 1991 and thrilled in harness with Abedi Pelé and Jean-Pierre Papin. Young Marseillais copied his distinctive mullet and some may even have bought the record he released with teammate Basile Boli.


Monaco 1987-1991. Ligue 1 champion 1988. Coupe de France finalist 1989.

Class, class, class. Like Waddle - with whom he released the hit record Diamond Lights in 1987 - the playmaker was arguably more appreciated in the French game than he was at home where there were suspicions of those who made the game look too easy. Hoddle's midfield artistry found its ideal home at Monaco where under Arsène Wenger, and accompanied by fellow England international Mark Hateley, he made an instant impact. Hoddle was a major contributor to the 1988 title season, scoring eight goals and being voted the top foreign player in Ligue 1. Monaco players of the time still speak reverentially of Hoddle's ability.


PSG 2013. Ligue 1 champion 2013.

Admittedly Beckham joined Paris Saint-Germain well past his prime, signing a six-month deal as a 37-year-old in early 2013. Signing the former England captain was a coup nevertheless and the midfielder endeared himself to PSG fans by playing a part in a goal on debut off the bench in a win at Olympique de Marseille in February 2013. Carlo Ancelotti trusted the veteran with a start at home to Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in early April. Despite the odd flash of brilliance, Beckham's impact was bigger off the pitch as he sent the club's international profile skyrocketing. After 14 scoreless games in all competitions Beckham retired from the game, skippering PSG at home to Brest in his final match on an emotional night at the Parc des Princes.


OM 2012-2013. Ligue 1 runner-up 2013.

This is where the list gets tricky as many English players (Ray Wilkins, Lee Chapman, Clive Allen, Joe Cole) either didn't spend long enough in the French game or show enough of their best football in l'Hexagone to warrant selection. And yes, the same could be argued of Joey Barton. Arriving on loan from Queen's Park Rangers, le bad boy was initially only available for Europa League matches as he served a 10-match domestic suspension. Barton's Ligue 1 debut was delayed until November but he soon hit his stride and was voted club player of the month for December. The midfielder's appreciation of OM's culture and his unlikely bantering friendship with burly forward André-Pierre Gignac won over fans and saw him acquire cult status.



OM 1994-1996, Nancy 1997-2000. Top scorer in Ligue 2 in 1995 and 1996. Ligue 2 champion in 1995 and 1998.

Ok, Cascarino won 88 caps for Ireland but he was born in Orpington in England and was outstanding for OM in the dark days they spent in the second division. In just two seasons the tall former Celtic forward scored 70 goals in all competitions, including five hat-tricks and two doubles. His goals propelled OM back into Ligue 1. The top division was more of a struggle and after nine scoreless matche he joined Nancy where his enduring heading ability helped him to a haul of 15 Ligue 1 goals in 1999-2000 as a 37-year-old.