||21 Jun 1955
One of the greatest
playmakers in the history of the game, Michel Platini typified the player wearing
jersey #10. He was the orchestrator, topscorer, free-kick specialist and in charge
of every attack his teams built up both at club and national team level. His unique
ability to read the game enabled him to stay a split second ahead of everyone else
at any given time. This combined with his superb passing skills made him open up
even the tightest defences with amazing ease. Going forward was natural for him
and he contributed with enough goals to make even world class strikers envious.
He began his career in little Nancy as a teenager in the early 1970s. He quickly
made a name for himself in French football and was the posterboy and big star when
the club won promotion and later established itself on the upper half of the table
in the French premier division. Platini was rewarded with a place on France's 1978
World Cup squad, but the team failed to reach the second phase drawn in a tough
group with hosts Argentina and Italy. Platini scored a goal against Argentina and
came away with credit.
Things didn't take off for real internationally until after the next World Cup, in
Spain, 1982. By then Platini had grown too big, not only for Nancy, but also for
Saint Etienne, the club where he spent the last three seasons and won the French
championship at before Juventus signed him up.
In Italy, Platini blossomed and lead Juve to win two league championships, one
European Cup (scored the winning goal in the infamous Heysel-final '85), one
Cupwinners Cup, one European Super Cup and one Intercontinental Cup title. On
the personal side he became Serie A topscorer three times and was voted European
Player of the Year three times. All this in the space of four glorious seasons.
Platini didn't have the same fortunes in the World Cup. Twice ousted in the
semifinals - both times because of West Germany - France played some fantastic
football in a number of games. In 1986, Platini's cool chip against Italy in the
second round laid the foundation for advancement, and his equalizing goal against
Brazil in the very next round was sidefooted into the open net after a smart run
into the box. In the eventual penalty shoot-out, Platini missed his attempt, but
was saved as France won anyway.
The highlight of his career instead came in the European Championships held on home
soil in 1984. He went on to dominate that tournament like no player in history has
ever done before or after. Nine goals in five games and they came from everywhere;
free-kicks, diving headers, after combination play, long range shooting, he
appeared to score every time he attempted to. Even the bad free-kicks, like
against Spain in the final, went in. France had never won anything in international
football, club or national team level, before this triumph, so it was a very special
Michel Platini retired from the game, still a young man, just shy of his 32nd
birthday in 1987 after 680 official career appearances and 368 goals of which
72 matches and 41 goals were with France. Both Juventus and France fell in quality
in the wake of his retirement as there was no available player on the planet who
could fill his boots 100%. Juve had to wait eight long years before they won another
Serie A championship and France didn't qualify for a World Cup again until they hosted the
event in 1998.
| 1978 | 1982
| 1986 |
Info on how
the World Cup was founded and about the trophy as well.
on every match in every tournament.
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since it was introduced in 1966.
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