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Sports Then and Now



Soccer Greats Remembered – Michel Platini 11

Posted on July 29, 2011 by Rod Crowley

Some soccer players are born great, some achieve greatness and some players have greatness thrust upon them – in the case of French soccer legend, Michel Platini it was all three.

After making his professional debut, just shy of his 18th birthday in 1973 for FC Nancy, the team his Italian father played for and later directed, Platini took a good year or two before making his presence and ability tell. He suffered an injury in his first full season, which saw Nancy relegated, but after returning to the side the following year, he became their most important player. That season, he scored 17 goals from midfield, many of them from free kicks, to ensure that Nancy went straight back up to the top flight of French soccer again, while at the same time capturing the attention of several of France’s bigger clubs as well as the French national side.

Platini was selected in the French squad to compete in the 1978 World Cup in Argentina and although the French team did not achieve very much, Platini for reasons that remain spurious, because much of his personal play was outstanding, was made the scapegoat for the disappointing performances by the French fans. That situation was to come to a head the following season in an away game against St Etienne whose fans jeered Platini throughout the match until he was replaced after suffering an ankle injury.

It was with some irony therefore when Platini, whose contract with Nancy had ended, signed for St Etienne a year later in 1979. Platini stayed with St Etienne for three years during which time they won the French League title in 1981 and were runners up in two French Cup Final. However, the success the club craved for, a win in the European Cup, was not forthcoming and Platini was allowed to leave in 1982 ; his destination was Italy to play for Juventus. Read the rest of this entry →

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