What if a team of players born in and around Paris played in the Champions League or even at EURO 2024? It would certainly be competitive. SPOX has put together a top 11 with players from the greater French capital area.
France’s capital Paris and the surrounding area are known for the fact that many highly talented footballers come from there.
PSG’s current superstar Kylian Mbappé, who grew up in the Paris suburb of Bondy, is probably the most famous example. But there are so many more!
SPOX has put together a selection that could probably easily play in the Champions League.
Goal: ALPHONSE AREOLA
30 years | France | West Ham United
A true Parisian, Aréola was born in the French capital and joined PSG’s youth squad at the age of 13. After loans to Lens, Bastia and Villarreal, he was a regular goalkeeper at PSG in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons.
Lost the status of number one, after a year with only a few appearances at Real Madrid in 2019/20, the French champions had first loaned it to Fulham and then to West Ham.
The Hammers signed the keeper last summer for a good nine million euros, but Aréola is only number two behind Lukasz Fabianski.
Right-back: NORDI MUKIELE
25 years | France | PSG
Mukiele was born in Montreuil, a suburb east of Paris. He never played for PSG in his youth, instead he was trained for a long time at Paris FC and later at Stade Laval. The 25-year-old came to RB Leipzig via Montpellier in 2018, where he established himself as one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga.
Last summer, PSG brought Mukiele to Paris and transferred twelve million euros to Leipzig. So far with 24 competitive appearances for the French champions.
Central defender: JULES KOUNDÈ
24 years | France | Barcelona FC
Koundé was born in Paris, but shortly thereafter moved with his family near Bordeaux. The 24-year-old, who became one of the best central defenders in LaLiga at Sevilla, was trained at Girondins Bordeaux and also made the leap to professionalism there.
Moved to Seville in 2019 for 25 million euros, last summer he went to big FC Barcelona for 50 million euros. The 18-time national player is set there when he is fit.
Central defender: PRESNEL KIMPEMBE
27 years | France | PSG
Born 30 kilometers north of Paris in the suburb of Beaumont-sur-Oise, Kimpembe joined PSG at the age of ten. Made his first-team debut at 19, the world champion is now a key player at both club and France level.
However, he will miss the second leg against Bayern on Wednesday evening after suffering a serious Achilles tendon injury a few days ago.
Left-back: RAPHAEL GUERREIRO
27 years | Portugal| Borussia Dortmund
Although a Portugal international, Guerreiro grew up in the Paris metropolitan area of Le Blanc-Mesnil. Was also trained at the training center of the French federation in Clairefontaine for a time, then at the age of 15 he joined the junior team of SM Caen. Became a professional there, made a name for himself in Lorient and has been playing at BVB since 2016. One of the best left feet in the Bundesliga for years.
However, Guerreiro’s contract in Dortmund is expiring and the signs point to a separation after seven years.
Defensive midfield: N’GOLO KANTÉ
31 years | France | Chelsea FC
The world champion was born in Paris and spent a long time playing for a smaller club in the suburb of Suresnes, twelve kilometers from the center of the French capital.
Kante made the leap to the professional game at today’s third division club US Boulogne, via Caen he landed at Leicester City in 2015 and became sensational English champions with the Foxes. At Chelsea since 2016 and one of the best midfielders in the world.
Defensive midfield: PAUL POGBA
29 years | France | juventus
Pogba grew up in the Paris area and played for the smaller suburban clubs US Roissy en Brie and US Torcy in his youth. At 14 he moved to the prestigious AC Le Havre academy, and at 16 he moved to Manchester United. The world champion returned to the Red Devils in 2016 after four years at Juventus and cost a whopping 105 million euros – a world record at the time.
In Manchester he was not really happy even on the second attempt and the next return to Turin followed in 2022.
Right winger: RIYAD MAHREZ
32 years | Algeria | Manchester City
Mahrez was born in the troubled suburb of Sarcelles north of central Paris. He started playing football there and when he was 18 he moved to an amateur club in Brittany. From there he made it to Le Havre, where he recommended himself to the second division team with good performances in the second. It wasn’t until he was 21 that he had a permanent place in the professional squad.
With his performances, he recommended himself for the then English second division club Leicester, with whom he rose and finally became sensational champion in 2016. He moved to Manchester City in 2018 for almost 70 million euros and from then on collected title after title and award after award.
Hanging tip: ANTHONY MARTIAL
27 years | France | Manchester United
Martial comes from Massy, around 15 kilometers south of central Paris. He started his football career like Thierry Henry at CO Les Ulis and was spotted early on, moving to Olympique Lyon’s outstanding youth academy at 13. However, he did not wait for his final breakthrough at OL, but moved on to Monaco at the age of 17 for a fee of five million euros.
There he convinced in his two years, so that Manchester United put 50 million euros on the table for him in 2015. There he has been oscillating between the starting lineup and the bench for years.
Left Wing: KINGSLEY COMAN
26 years | France | FC Bayern Munich
Coman is a true Parisian. He started his career at US Senart-Moissy around 50 kilometers southeast of the center, but he switched to the PSG youth team at the age of nine. He made his competitive debut there at the age of 16, but Coman felt he wasn’t trusted enough. That’s why he let his contract expire and went to Juventus Turin on a free transfer at the age of 18.
After just one season, he seized the opportunity to initially go on loan to FC Bayern in order to develop further. Despite numerous injuries, he has been a top performer at FCB ever since: in the Champions League final against PSG in 2020 he headed the 1-0 winning goal and a few days ago he shot FCB in the Parc des Princes again to success over his former club.
Center Forward: KYLIAN MBAPPÉ
24 years | France | PSG
Kylian Mbappe comes from the suburb of Bondy, east of central Paris. He started playing football there and, at the age of 13, moved to the French youth club in Clairefontaine due to his great talent. From there it went on to AS Monaco two years later, where he celebrated his professional debut at the age of 16.
Another two years later, PSG snapped him up and had to pay up to 180 million euros for him. Mbappe set numerous records and was instrumental in France becoming world champions in 2018. He has long been an absolute superstar and since last weekend has been the PSG record scorer with 201 goals.
IBRAHIMA KONATE | 23 years | France | Liverpool FC | centre-back
Paris-born Konate started playing football at Paris FC when he was ten years old. At 15, he joined second division side FC Sochaux, where he was gradually introduced to the first team. He finally made his debut at 17 but did not renew his contract with the club.
Instead, he went to RB Leipzig on a free transfer in 2017, where he played for four years and recommended a move to Liverpool FC.
FERLAND MENDY | 27 years | France | Madrid | left-back
Mendy comes from Meulan-en-Yvelines, around 40 kilometers west of central Paris. He joined PSG at the age of nine and stayed there throughout his youth. As a 17-year-old, however, he took several steps backwards and ended up in a roundabout way, just like Riyad Mahrez, in the second team at Le Havre.
The story there is the same as Mahrez’s: he excelled in the second, got into action in the first and then took off. Mendy was first drawn to Olympique Lyon, before finally moving to Real Madrid in 2019 for 48 million euros.
TANGUY NDOMBÉLÉ | 26 years | France | Naples | Central midfield
Ndombélé was born in Longjumeau, south of Paris, and started playing football in Epinay-sous-Senart, also south of the center. After a few years at small clubs, he went to the youth academy in Guingamp at the age of 14. He stayed there for three years and then tried it out at SC Amiens when he was 17. There he became a regular player in the 2016/17 season, so that Olympique Lyon took notice of him. First he was loaned out by OL, then committed for eight million euros.
A deal that paid off for Lyon as just a year later, Tottenham put €60m on the table for Ndombélé. However, he could not really assert himself with the Spurs, so he is loaned to SSC Napoli for the current season. But even there he is only a supplementary player.
CHRISTOPHER NKUNKU | 25 years | France | RB Leipzig | Hanging tip
Nkunku comes from Lagny-sur-Marne, around 30 kilometers east of central Paris. Starting out at small clubs, he joined PSG aged 13 and trained there for six years. However, he was only a substitute in the first team, so at the age of 21 he decided to make a move and went to RB Leipzig for 13 million euros.
Thanks to his technique and speed, he has been one of the regular players for the Saxons ever since. In the 21/22 season he had his big breakthrough with 20 goals and 15 assists in the Bundesliga. When the contract was extended in the summer, his move to Chelsea is said to have been made perfect, although there has not yet been any official confirmation of this.
MOUSSA DIABY | 23 years | France | Bayer Leverkusen | left winger
Diaby comes straight from Paris and has played for PSG since he was 14 years old. In the second half of the 2017/18 season, he gained match practice with the Italian club Crotone. Under coach Thomas Tuchel, he was included in the squad of the first team at PSG, but he did not get regular appearances in the star ensemble.
That’s why he decided to leave the club in 2019. Diaby accepted an offer from Bayer Leverkusen, who paid 15 million euros for him. Since then he has collected a strong 64 points in 114 games in the Bundesliga and has made himself interesting for larger clubs.