The squad

All-star squad

Shirt number 15 French flag



Full name: Michel Francois Platini
Date of birth: 21/06/1955
Position: Midfielder
International caps: 72
International goals: 41
World Cups: 1978 - First Round
1982 - Semi Finals
1986 - Third Place
World Footballer of the Year: 1984,1985
European Footballer of the Year: 1983,1984,1985
Clubs: Nancy
St Etienne

Michel Platini is known as one of the greatest French footballers of all time. He is regarded as one of the most elegant players of his generation, as well as being a great passer of the ball and an outstanding goalscorer, especially from dead-ball situations. Platini honed his innate ability to anticipate play as a youngster on the streets, away from the footballing academies which were starting to appear around France.

Platini's career started badly, when he fainted at a trial with his favourite team Metz. He was unable to break out of regional football until 1972, when he finally joined the the Nancy reserves. However, he was quick to seize this opportunity, scoring a hat-trick in his first game, and by May of the next year he had made his first team league debut. After helping Nancy back into France's Ligue 1, and with a few decent cup runs under their belts, Platini featured in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, scoring three goals in four games. Unfortunately, they lost to a full strength East German side in the quarter finals. His first trophy was the French Cup in 1978, where he scored the only goal in a 1-0 final victory over Nice.

Platini in action

Platini's first World Cup was that same year. France had qualified thanks to his superb 25 yard effort against Bulgaria, but the competition itself did not go well. France were knocked out in the first round after defeats to Italy and hosts Argentina, and although Platini didn't play badly (scoring against the latter), he bore the brunt of the fans' flustrations. For the next few months, he was booed by most supporters, until an injury forced him miss the remainder of the season, including Nancy's European Cup Winners' Cup campaign.

In 1979, Platini moved to Saint-Etienne, a team who had reached the 1976 European Cup final. However, they couldn't reproduce that form, winning only the French league in 1981 in his three year spell there, after which he transferred to Italian giants Juventus.

Platini in action

Despite the fans' initial reaction after the 1978 World Cup, Platini impressed the French manager enough to be made captain by 1981. One of his trademark free-kicks helped beat the Netherlands in a crucial qualifier for the 1982 World Cup in Spain - a competition in which France unexpectedly reached the quarter finals, losing only in a penalty shoot-out with the West Germans (after a 3-3 draw in normal time). Platini, Alaine Giresse, Luis Fernandez and Jean Tigana formed the famous "carre magique" (magic square) at the heart of the French team.

The French national team continued their good form in the 1984 European Championship, on home soil. "Le Roi" (The King) had a huge role, scoring nine of France's 14 goals in just five games, including two perfect hat-tricks (left foot, right foot, header) against Belgium and Yugoslavia, and the last minute of extra time winner against Portugal in the semi-final. Platini scored the opening goal in the 2-0 final victory over Spain to lead France to their first ever major trophy.

In club football, Platini was winning many trophies with Juventus. Althought the European Cup in 1983 eluded them (losing to Hamburg in the final), his five seasons in Italy saw him win the Italian Cup (1983), Serie A in both 1984 and 1986, the European Cup Winners' Cup (1984), the European Super Cup (1984), the European Cup in 1985, and the World Club Championship (also 1985). He finished top scorer in Serie A for three consecutive seasons (1982-85), and won a hat-trick of European Footballer of the Year awards. However, the 1985 European Cup victory, which should have been Platini's crowning glory, was marred by what would be known as the Heysel Disaster.

Platini celebrates against Brazil

In 1986, Platini was suffering from a groin injury, which kept him from his peak fitness. However, he did contribute to the third place medal, with important goals against Italy in the round of 16, and Brazil in the quarter final (sending the game into extra time and penalties - Platini famously missing his in a victory for France).

In 1987 Platini retired as a player with 72 caps for France (49 as captain) and 68 goals in 147 league games for Juventus. A year later, Platini took over the French national team as coach. AFter failing to qualify the the 1990 World Cup, the team embarked on a 19 match unbeaten run, including the qualifying for Euro 1992. Unfortunately, this ended just prior to the competition proper, and France subsequently lost in the first round, forcing Platini to step down. Since then, Platini has entered the world of football politics, as co-organiser of the 1998 World Cup in France, chairman of the FIFA Technical and Development Committee, vice-president of the French Football Federation, and is the current president of UEFA.