Olympique de Marseille legends: Top 10 all-time greats for the Les Phocéens

Olympique de Marseille legends: Top 10 all-time greats for the Les Phocéens

Kenneth Mwenda
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:10 PM

Olympique de Marseille is one of the French clubs with legends from all over the world. The club was established in 1899 and competes in Ligue 1, where it has spent the majority of its history. The team has won three Coupes de la Ligue, ten Coupes de France, 11 Ligue 1 championships, and the 1993 UEFA Champions League Cup.

Olympique de Marseille legends: Top 10 all-time greats for the Les Phocéens
Rudy Voller (Left) Didier Deschamps (Centre) Franck Sauzee (Right) on 24.05.1993 in Marseille. Photo: Alain Gadoffre
Source: Getty Images

In order to enlighten you about the French club, which is still the first to win the Champions League, we have carefully examined material from reliable sources. The 1993 team included a large portion of the Les Phocéens legends.

Olympique de Marseille legends list

In 1932, the team turned professional, and after winning the French Cup five years in a row, they eventually rose to become the toughest side. However, after these heydays, years of both light and darkness followed. These are the biggest Olympique de Marseille legends in history.

10. Marcel Desailly

Olympique de Marseille legends defenders
Marcel Desailly attends The Best FIFA Football Awards 2019 at the Teatro Alla Scala on September 23, 2019 in Milan, Italy. Photo: Claudio Villa
Source: Getty Images

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During the 1990s, Marcel Desailly was regarded as one of Olympique de Marseille's legendary defenders. He participated in 116 matches for France, winning the European Championship in 2000 and the World Cup in 1998.

Desailly became the only player to win the European Cup with two different clubs in two seasons. This was when he won with Marseille in 1993 and AC Milan the following year.

9. Jean Bastien

Jean Bastien was born in French Algeria and played for Olympique de Marseille and GSC Marseille for the majority of his career. In 1938 and 1939, he also participated in Racing Club de France matches and two for Toulouse FC.

Bastien served as Olympique de Marseille's captain. However, he ended his career as a player-coach at Montpellier HSC in 1950 - 1951. He also participated in the 1938 World Cup Finals quarterfinal match against Italy.

8. Fabien Barthez

Most decorated French goalkeeper
Fabien Barthez during a match on 26.10.2005. Photo : Marc Oliva
Source: Getty Images

Fabien Barthez is the most decorated goalkeeper in France. In his own country, he won the World Cup in 1998, followed two years later by the European Championship.

With 17 appearances at the World Cup, Barthez has the most caps for France. He played in domestic football for Toulouse, Marseille, AS Monaco, Manchester United, and Nantes. Along with Marseille, he also captured a Champions League medal in 1993.

7. Joseph Bonnel

Olympique de Marseille legends of all-time
Joseph Bonnel (Left) and Carlos Mozer on 25.04.2010 in Marseille. Photo : Olivier Andrivon
Source: Getty Images

Before signing with Marseille in 1967, Bonnel played for Montpellier HSC and Valenciennes FC. He performed there till 1973. The star also served as the club's focal point as they won the Coupe de France in 1969, the league title in 1971, and then a double Cup-League Championship the following year.

Between 1962 and 1969, Joseph Bonnel received 25 caps. He attended the 1966 World Cup and managed only three goals during the 1966-67 campaign.

6. Jean Pierre Papin

Olympique de Marseille legends of all time
Jean-Pierre Papin poses for a portrait shoot prior to the 2013 Golden Foot Award on October 15, 2013 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Photo: Tullio M. Puglia
Source: Getty Images

Jean Pierre Papin is the player who won the Ballon d'Or in 1991. He played with the legendary Olympique de Marseille team of the 1990s, which won the Lique four times in a row but departed the team the season before they won the first-ever European Cup.

Later, Papin played for US Cap-Ferret, Bordeaux, Guingamp, FC Bayern Munich, AC Milan, and FC Bayern. Papin also made 54 appearances for France's national team. In 1986 and 1992, he attended the World Cup Finals and the European Championship, respectively.

5. Roger Scotti

Beginning in 1935, Roger Scotti made his debut for the Provencal club's youth teams, and in 1942, he made his OM debut. He was a very skilled and composed midfielder who, in May 1943, at the age of 17, helped OM defeat Bordeaux in the Coupe de France final, becoming the competition's youngest winner. He was still a senior in high school. Roger Scotti's stamp on post-war OM is genuine.

"Leaving Marseille is tearing my heart out."

4. Steve Mandanda

Player with the most appearances for Olympique de Marseille
Steve Mandanda of Olympique Marseille during the Conference League match against Feyenoord at the Stadium Feijenoord on April 28, 2022 in Rotterdam Netherlands. Photo: Pim Waslander
Source: Getty Images

In August 2005, Mandanda made his league debut for Le Havre. He joined the OM in 2007, firstly on loan from Le Havre, and has played a club-record 613 times as of May 2022. Having the most appearances by any player in Marseille history, Mandanda started every single one of them.

Mandanda spent 15 years on Marseille's books. However, he played one Premier League season in 2016–17 with Crystal Palace before returning to Stade Veledrome as a free agent. In 2010, 2014, and 2018, when France won the World Cup, he was the third goalkeeper at the World Cup Finals. The Olympique de Marseille legend has a rating of 81 in FIFA 22.

3. Abedi Pele

Famous Olympique de Marseille legends
Football legend Abedi Pele during the Golden Foot Ceremony Awards on October 10, 2011 in Monaco, Monaco. Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto
Source: Getty Images

Abedi Pele was a football star for Olympique de Marseille and one of the best African players of all time. His time with Marseille, when he won the first Champions League trophy ever for a French club, will be most closely associated with his career.

Between 1991 and 1993, he won the African Player of the Year award three years in a row. He came in third place among African players for the century. For Ghana, he received 77 caps. He participated in the 1982 African Cup of Nations winning squad. Abedi Pele also formerly held the record for the most goals scored in the nation.

2. Gunnar Andersson

Olympique de Marseille legends
Olympique Marseille (OM) player Gunnar Andersson (in white) scoring a goal against Stade-Francais' goalkeeper Dominique Colonna in 1952. Photo: Universal/Corbis
Source: Getty Images

Gunnar Andersson began his playing career in Sweden and later moved to Denmark to play for Kjøbenhavns Boldklub before joining the Les Phocéens in 1950. In addition, he led Division 1 in goals for l'OM in 1951-1952 and 1952-1953, and he finished second in the Coupe de France in 1953-1954.

The famous Olympique de Marseille legend was once their all-time leading scorer. Gunnar also participated in games for French teams like AS Aix and FC Girondins de Bordeaux.

1. Didier Deschamps

Olympique de Marseille football legends
Didier Deschamps takes the Fifa World Cup Trophy on stage during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final Draw at Doha Exhibition Center on April 1, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Marcio Machado
Source: Getty Images

Deschamps is at the top of our all-time Olympique de Marseille legends list. The Champions League trophy, the World Cup trophy and the European Championship trophy were all won by him and his side, making him only the second player in history to do so while serving as captain. His professional career began with Nantes.

Didier's career peaked while he was playing for Juventus and the Les Phocéens, where he shared two Champions League titles. One hundred three caps were earned by him between 1989 and 2000. He additionally played for Valencia, Chelsea, and Nantes.

The 1990s saw the majority of the best Olympique de Marseille legends play. However, after the rise of PSG and other wealthy clubs that can afford to sign any player they want, the club has not been performing as well as other football clubs since the turn of the century.

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Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.