Born in Lorraine of Italian descent, Platini (nickname: ‘platoche’) started at French club Nancy-Lorraine before moving on to Saint-Etienne, where he won the league title in 1981. In 1982 he moved to Italian club side Juventus, scoring 68 goals in 147 league games as a midfielder, and being Serie A’s top goalscorer three years in a row. Platini helped the club win two league titles, the Italian Cup, the European Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup.
Platini captained the French national team to European Championship honours in 1984, becoming the top scorer of the tournament with nine goals: the opening score of the tournament against Denmark, hat-tricks against Belgium and Yugoslavia, a last-minute winner against Portugal in the epic semi-final in Marseilles, and a free-kick against Spain in the final in Paris.
Platini was one of the greatest passers of the ball in the history of the game, and, despite nominally a midfielder, also an outstanding goalscorer. In the words of Bobby Charlton, "he could thread the ball through the eye of a needle as well as finish." Platini was also a master of the free kick, which he practised using a row of dummies during training.
He was voted European footballer of the year (Ballon d’or) an unprecedented three times in succession, in 1983, 1984 and 1985. Platini was also voted World Soccer Player of the Year in 1984 and 1985.
Platini was, together with François-Cyrille Grange, the lighter of the Olympic Flame at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. He was also the head of the organizing committee for the 1998 World Cup, held in France.
Watch Video: Platini Highlights
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