Full name: Michel François Platini
Date of birth: 21 June 1955 (age 56)
Place of birth: Jœuf, France
Playing position: Attacking midfielder
Current role: UEFA President
Johan Cruyff, Dennis Bergkamp, Gianni Rivera, Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Baggio. The list is incomplete without Michel Platini, the man who is known for his attacking abilities from the middle of the park and went on to become one of the greatest play-maker in the history of the game. Grace, class and style are words that will not do justice for the man who is clearly more than that. He was the orchestrator, free-kick specialist and in charge of every attack his teams built up both at club and national team level. A perfect example for the player wearing the #10 jersey.
Born in a small town of called Joeuf, in North Eastern France, Platini started his career like almost all the great players – in the streets playing together with the other neighborhood children. He always had an inborn talent, a vision like no other kid, which was spotted and nurtured by AS Jœuf for 6 years before finally joining Nancy in 1972 as a reserve team player. The Frenchman, blessed with delightful passing skills and an ability to be able to float pass players as if they weren’t there, was quickly noticed at the side, and drafted into the first team. Platini signed his first professional contract in 1976 and went on to win the French Cup in 1978 captaining his side to win his first honor as a player.
From there Platini moved to St Etienne and the three year span at the French club saw mixed success for the midfielder before finally moving to Juventus where he was more than successful. With back to back player of the year awards, footballer of the year award and top scoring Seria A – Platini soon captured the hearts of fans across the world. The 1985 European Cup final against Liverpool at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels should have been the crowning moment of Platini’s Juventus career, but was instead overshadowed by the Heysel Stadium disaster in which 39 people died, and 600 more were injured. Besides this sad European Cup title, Platini had a glorious career with Juventus winning almost everything with the Old Lady. And thus Platini along with the likes of Zbigniew Boniek, Scirera and Gentile dominated the early part of the 80’s through some explicit football which is remembered till date.
A carrer full of highs brings some unfortunate moments as well, on turning 32, Platini was completely worn out by continuous high standard of football and soon injuries started to kick in and after the 1986 Mexico World Cup, he played one more season for Juventus, before bidding adieu to the beautiful game.
His standout acheivements include – The nine goals hat he scored in 1984 in a single edition of the championship is still the record for most goals in the tournament’s history. Of the nine goals, he got two “perfect” hat-tricks (one header and one goal with each foot) in the group stage and also found the goal in the semi-final and final. Platini was the only footballer to record a hat-trick of Golden Ball’s.
Some of his stats :
After a year long break, Platini returned to the pitch but this time stayed neared the dugout as the manger of France national team. Although not a highly successful stint at managing, Platini never lost his respect around the footballing fraternities and after serving in several Administrative roles at UEFA and FIFA, he was selected as the president of UEFA in January 2007 – an honor which he truly deserved.
His works as UEFA president include a strong backing for the 6+5 idea, six home international players and five foreign players to be introduced in top flight teams in Europe. He is also against the implementation of goal-line technology in football. He believes it would undermine the authority of referees and disrupt the natural flow of the game.
Michel Platini, a man who took over every part of the game and did it successfully. From an attacking midfielder to president of the UEFA – he is a living legend.