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Newz Forum: PFL:SOCCER: Michel Platini

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posted on Aug, 5 2004 @ 12:08 PM
Michel Platini was the original playmaker. He was France's brightest star who put the country on the footballing map in the 1980's. Within a few weeks in the spring of 1997 he was voted in Italy as the greatest player ever to have lined up for Juventus and at home in France as the number one sports personality of his generation.

Michel Platini, grandson of an Italian immigrant, was born at Joeuf in 1955 and began with Nancy, where his father was coach. He played in the 1976 Olympics and that year made his full international debut, against Czechoslovakia. In 1979 after scoring 98 goals in seven years with Nancy, Platini moved to AS St. Etienne. In 1982, Juventus paid 1.200.000 milion for him and his goals helped win three Italian titles in four years as well as European honours. He skippered France to the 1984 European Championship, his nine goals including two hat-tricks, taking him past Fontaine's overall French record. In 1985 he won his third European Footballer Of The Year award and converted the penalty which beat Liverpool in the ill-fated European Cup final. Platini played in three World Cups from 1978. In 1982 he helped France to fourth place and in 1986 they finished third and Platini at last showed his true class. In August 1987 he played for The Rest Of The World against the Football League at Wembley and then retired, after 72 caps and 41 goals, to concentrate on his vast business empire. However after France failed to qualify for the 1990 World Cup, Platini took over as team manager. It was his first coaching job in football.

Michel Platini never did win the FIFA World Cup , the ultimate prize for a footballer. In fact, it is the only trophy missing from his impressive trophy cabinet, but that surely does not detract from his status as a footballing legend. His technical ability, reading of the game and amazing ruthlessness in front of goal made him one of the game's all-time greats. Yet above and beyond these exceptional talents, the captain of 'Les Bleus' was also the epitome of intelligence and elegance, and it was these qualities that forever etched the name of Platini in the hearts of the fans. The "Beautiful Game" had slowly began to take it's toll on the great man: injuries were plaguing him, notably a swollen ankle which he nursed for months, and the Heysel tragedy left a deep psychological scar on Platini, whose philosophy on football, as with life, is first and foremost about enjoyment. A Platini penalty saw Juventus defeat Liverpool to win the European Cup, but "that night had nothing to do with football. They had to bring us the cup in the dressing room," he later explained.

After hanging up his boots in 1987, Platini became manager of the French national side. He quickly gave Didier Deschamps his first cap and paired up the strike duo of Cantona and Papin. This new generation strung together an incredible unbeaten sequence of matches, stretching from April 1989 to February 1992, as France won all its qualifying matches for the European Championship. But when his side failed to make it past the first round at the tournament proper in Sweden, Platini stepped down as manager. When France secured the privilege of hosting the 1998 FIFA World Cup, Platini again answered his country's call. He accepted the challenge to work as co-president of the French Organising Committee alongside Fernand Sastre, who had masterminded the French bid. As usual Platini carried out his duties with great panache, before lending his support to Joseph S. Blatter during his campaign for the FIFA presidency. He has since been elected vice-president of the French Football Federation (FFF), and his brief of responsibilities continues to widen in the highest echelons of the sport in order "to give something back to the game has given me so much", he is fond of saying.

Playing career


1966-1972: AS Joeuf
1972-1979: AS Nancy-Lorraine
1979-1982: AS Saint-Etienne
1982-1987: Juventus

Club honours

1978 French Cup (AS Nancy-Lorraine)
1981 French league title (AS Saint-Etienne)
1981 French Cup finalist (AS Saint-Etienne)
1982 French Cup finalist (AS Saint-Etienne)
1983 Italian Cup winner (Juventus)
1983 European Cup winner (Juventus)
1983 Serie A top goalscorer (16 goals)
1983 Ballon d'or
1984 Italian league title winner (Juventus)
1984 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup winner (Juventus)
1984 European Super Cup winner (Juventus)
1984 Serie A top goalscorer (20 goals)
1984 Ballon d'or
1985 European Cup winner (Juventus)
1985 Intercontinental Cup winner (Juventus)
1985 Serie A top goalscorer (18 goals)
1985 Ballon d'or
1986 Italian league title winner (Juventus)

International honours

1978 Argentina 78: First round
1982 Spain 82: Fourth place
1984 European Championship France 84: Winner
1985 Intercontinental Cup of Nations: Winner
1986 Mexico 86: Third place

72 matches, 41 goals, captain 49 times
French all-time top goalscorer

Managerial career

1992 European Championship Sweden 92; First round

[Edited on 5/8/04 by TRD]

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