Olympique Lyon legends: Top 10 all-time greats for the Les Gones

Olympique Lyon legends: Top 10 all-time greats for the Les Gones

Lenah Ann
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:10 PM

The team is also known as Olympique Lyonnais, Les Gones. It is a professional French association club based in Lyon and plays in Ligue 1, the top level of the French Football League. The club was founded in 1899 as a section of Lyon Olympique Universitaire's sports club. The names of the best Lyon legends of all time still resound in the history of football.

List of the Olympique Lyon legends
Who are the top all-time greats for the Les Gones? Photo: Canva.com (Modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

The club had its first win in the 1963/64 Coupe de France competitions and won its first Ligue One title in the 2001/02 season. So far, the club has appeared seventeen times in the UEFA Champions League. More than 500 players have made a competitive appearance for the club since then and some have become Olympique Lyon legends gracing FIFA 2022.

List of the Olympique Lyon legends of all time

This article focuses on the careers, stats, and achievements of the best players of all time from their record holders: Serge Chiesa, Raymond Domenech, Nabil Fekir, and Juninho Pernambucano.

10. Karim Benzema - (2004-2009)

famous Olympique Lyon legends
Karim Benzema protests during the La Liga Santander match between RCD Espanyol and Real Madrid CF at RCDE Stadium on 28 August 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Jose Breton
Source: Getty Images

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Karim Mostafa Benzema is a French football player who plays forward for Real Madrid in La Liga and the France national team. He is a famous Olympique Lyon legend and is currently considered one of the best forward players of his generation.

The player began his senior playing career in 2005 with the club. After helping Lyon win three Ligue 1 titles, he was named the League and Team Player of the Year in 2008 after finishing as the League's top goal-scorer. Additionally, he won his fourth league title and first Coupe de France.

9. Bafetimbi Gomis (2009-2014)

famous Olympique Lyon legends
Bafetimbi Gomis celebrates after the Turkish Super League match between Umraniyespor and Galatasaray at Ataturk Olympic Stadium on 19 August 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: Seskim Photo
Source: Getty Images

Gomis is a French football player who plays as a striker and is a famous Olympique Lyon legend of all time. He played for Saint-Etienne as a youth player before making his debut in 2004 and transferred to the club in 2009.

The famed player scored 95 goals in 244 games during the club's five seasons. In 2012, he was in the squad that won the Coupe de France and the Trophee des Champions. He later joined Swansea City in the Premier League in 2014 on a free transfer and played for Marseille in France before finally joining Galatasaray.

8. Sidney Govou - (2000-2010)

Olympique Lyon legends of all time
Sidney Govou attends the French Open 2022 at Roland Garros on June 02, 2022 in Paris, France. Photo: Stephane Cardinale
Source: Getty Images

A former French footballer, Sidney Govou, is among today's famous Olympique Lyon football legends. He joined the club's youth academy at 17 in 1996 and spent his entire career at the club.

The player made his Ligue 1 debut in 2000/01 by helping the team finish second, just four points behind champions FC Nantes. He was named Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year in 2001, thanks to his outstanding performances. In addition, he is a record holder for winning 7 Ligue 1 titles.

7. Kim Kallstrom - (2006-2012)

Olympique Lyon legendary player
Kim Kallstrom thanks the fans for all their support before an Allsvenskan match against Trelleborgs FF at Tele2 Arena on 8 April 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: Michael Campanella
Source: Getty Images

Kallstrom is a former Swedish footballer who played as a midfielder. He joined the club in 2006 after two significant seasons with Rennes. Kim scored the equalizer against PSG during his first appearance for Lyon in the Coupe de France finals. However, he later left the club in 2012 after scoring 16 goals in 131 games.

6. Florent Malouda - (2003-2007)

biggest Olympique Lyon legends
Florent Malouda runs with the ball during the match between JDT TMJ Selection and the JDT Rest of the World XI at the Larkin Stadium on 30 June 2019 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Photo: Allsport Co
Source: Getty Images

A former soccer player and coach based in France, he played left-winger for Lyon and Chelsea. He has won four consecutive Ligue 1 titles and the UEFA Champions League in 2012. Moreover, Malouda represented France on 80 occasions from 2004 to 2012, including two FIFA World Cups and two European Championships. He was among those who stirred France to win the World Cup in 2006.

At 16, he made his senior debut in Ligue 2, where his performances were recognized by the French club. It was only a matter of time before the club signed him after winning their second consecutive title in 2002/03.

He then achieved a permanent acceptance at the club's left flank, forming an outstanding link-up with all the strikers. This earned him a place in the France national team and thus became one of the best Olympique Lyon left-wingers of all time.

5. Nabil Fekir - (2011-2019)

Olympique Lyon legends defenders
Nabil Fekir runs with the ball during the LaLiga Santander match against CA Osasuna at Estadio Benito Villamarin on 26 August 2022 in Seville, Spain. Photo: Juanjo Ubeda
Source: Getty Images

Fekir is a French-based soccer player who plays as a forward for Real Betis in La Liga and plays for the France national team. He is currently deemed among the best offensive players in the football world.

During his six seasons at Lyon, Nebil made a name after giving high-quality performances. Even though Fekir spent much less time in the club than any other Olympique Lyon legendary player, he had a major influence on the team as the club tried to come out of PSG's shadow.

The player scored 69 goals in 193 games for Lyon across all competitions and was chosen as Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year in the 2014/15 season. In addition, he made the UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year in two seasons: 2014/15 and 2017/18

4. Gregory Coupet (1997-2008)

Olympique Lyon legendary player
Lyon's goalkeeping coach Gregory Coupet during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match against Juventus at Parc Olympique on 26 February 2020 in Lyon, France. Photo: Jonathan Moscrop
Source: Getty Images

The French-based goalkeeper, Gregory Coupet, is one of the Les Gones legends and holds the joint record for winning the most Ligue 1 titles. He made his Ligue 1 debut on 26 March 1994, and after three seasons, he moved to Lyon in January 1997.

While in the club, he was voted into the top 10 for the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper Award for the first time in 2005. In addition, in 2004 and 2005, he was named Ligue 1 Keeper of the Year. The renowned player later transferred to Atletico Madrid on 18 July 2008.

3. Hugo Lloris (2008-2012)

best Olympique Lyon legends
Hugo Lloris looks on during the Premier League match against West Ham United at London Stadium on August 31, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. Photo: Craig Mercer
Source: Getty Images

Hugo Lloris is a French-based soccer player who currently plays as a goalkeeper for Tottenham. He made his first appearance in 2008 after excelling at his home town youth academy, OGC Nice. The famous goalkeeper spent 4 years at Lyon from 2008 to 2012, having played 146 games and is considered among the biggest Olympique Lyon legends today.

2. Juninho Pernambucano (2001-2009)

Olympique Lyon legends
Brazilian former footballer, Juninho, offers a press conference at the Sao Januario stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 3 February 2014. Photo: Vanderlei Almedia
Source: Getty Images

Pernambucano is a former Brazilian soccer player who most recently served as a sporting director of the French club Olympique Lyonnais. Also known as the Brazilian king of free kicks, he is one of the best club's players of all time.

He joined Lyon in 2001 and was helpful to his team in every of their seven back-to-back Ligue 1 titles. At Lyon, the player made a name and became famous for his precise, powerful and varied set pieces. He scored 100 goals for the club, 44 of which were free kicks, and the 100th ended his spell in the club.

1. Alexandre Lacazette (2010-2017)

Olympique Lyon legends of all time
Alexandre Lacazette during the Ligue 1 match against AC Ajaccio (ACA) at Groupama Stadium on 5 August 2022 in Decines near Lyon, France. Photo: Jean Catuffe
Source: Getty Images

Even though Alexandre Lacazette currently plays as a forward for Arsenal in the Premier League, he is still regarded among the list of Olympique Lyon legends. Before joining Arsenal in 2017, he spent seven years in Ligue 1 and was considered one of the best Lyon players.

The famous soccer player debuted professionally at Lyon in 2010 after an impressive start in the academy. He played 279 games across all competitions and scored 129 goals. Additionally, he won the best scorer award with 27 goals in 33 games in the 2014/2015 season.

Who is the current best player in Lyon?

According to Lyon stats, Thiago Mendes is the current guru in the club. He has so far made 371 appearances and scored 18 goals for the club.

One thing that stands out about these Olympique Lyon legends is the fact that most of them had their professional debuts in the club. Nevertheless, the club has repeatedly proven to produce great talents like Karim Benzema, Nabil Fekir, Alexandre Lacazette, and many more.

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Lenah Ann
Lenah Ann is a Kenyan-based content creator with 2 years of experience. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Media and Communication from Dedan Kimathi, Kenya in 2021.