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|Full name||Michel François Platini|
|Date of birth||21 June 1955 (age 58)|
|Place of birth||Jœuf, France|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|Teams played for||AS Nancy, St Etienne, Juventus, and France|
Michel Platini is known for altogether different reasons than he was known for in the ‘80s. Once regarded as one of the undisputed best players in the world, now he is known for his disputable leadership of UEFA. Yet, this profile will shed light on the great player that Platini was. He galvanized French football and was key in its waking up from a self-inflicted slumber, being the role model for the likes of Zidane. He also participated in the golden era of Serie A with Juventus dominating European football in the mid-80s. An outstanding playmaker along with great goal-scoring threat, he was the conductor of the Juventus and France orchestra.
Michel Platini was born to parents of Italian ancestry in the Lorraine region of France. His talent in football was quickly noticed and earned him a call up from Metz. Unfortunately, both his trials ended unfavorably and he was deemed unfit and weak by the Metz management for professional football. He was signed up by Nancy for whom he started on a very positive note scoring a hat-trick in his first reserve game. Though injuries kept him out for the remainder of the season, he still managed to make his league debut for Nancy. The following 1973-74 season was another one for despair, as he missed almost half the season due to injury. The next season he had to help Nancy get promoted and played a crucial role in their immediate promotion. The ‘75-‘76 season was another season which was curtailed due to injury along with military service, though the season ended on a better note with a quarterfinal position in the Montreal Olympic games.
The stop-start nature to Platini’s Nancy career would eventually end with Platini playing 2 full seasons in the lead up to the 1978 World Cup. In this period he had been an active influence in Nancy’s French Cup triumph in 1978. Though Platini played well in the 1978 World Cup, France were drawn in a tough group comprising of Italy and Argentina. Platini was unfairly blamed for France’s showing leading Platini to leave Nancy after 7 years to Saint-Etienne. His stay in Saint-Etienne was prolific with 58 goals in 104 games, though as a team Saint-Etienne could not gain the trophy which they craved the most, the European Cup. After winning the league with Saint-Etienne, Platini decided that it is time to move on to newer shores leading to a transfer to Juventus.
By now Platini had emerged as one of the great players of the World with his international performances especially catching the Eye. He along with Luis Fernandez, Alain Giresse and Jean Tigana comprising the magic square were key in France’s 1982 semifinal run where they narrowly missed the final on penalties, losing to West Germany 5-4 after an enthralling 3-3 draw post extra time.
The 1982 disappointment was however followed by the most successful period of Platini’s career. Initially, he faced a tough time though he picked up his form to emerge as the top scorer in the Serie A along with helping Juventus reach the European Cup final which they lost to Hamburger SV. In the 1983 -84 season Juventus won the Serie A. In the national colors, Platini along with the magic square rampaged their way home to a European Championship triumph with Platini scoring a record 9 goals in the tourney.
The following season, they won the European Cup with a legendary team comprising of Paolo Rossi, Marco Tardelli, Boniek, and Scirea under the stewardship of Trapattoni. Yet this final against Liverpool is remembered more for the Heysel Tragedy rather than Platini’s sole penalty which sealed the match. With Platini at the peak of his form coming into the 1986 World Cup there were high expectations from the French team. But Platini was himself not completely match fit and France succumbed in the semi finals yet again to West Germany. After a below par season with Juventus, Platini decided to hang his boots.
The following year Platini was appointed as the Manager of the French team after they surprisingly failed to qualify for the 1990 World Cup. A successful qualifying campaign was followed by an even more surprising collapse as France failed to qualify their group in the 1992 Euros leading to Platini stepping down from the post. Later on, Platini was elected the president of UEFA in 2006, a post which he holds till date.
Platini has won Ligue 1, Ligue 2, French Cup, and the European Cup and the European Football Championships once. He has won Serie A twice and won the Ballon d’or thrice in a row, a record which has still not been bettered. He has also won the Serie A top scorer 3 times in a row.
Platini has been accused of being anti-English clubs. He has also been accused of taking kickbacks to award the World Cup to Qatar in 2022.
Platini was named in the World Cup Football dream team in 1994.