The mythical Just Fontaine, all-time top scorer at a World Cup, dies


The French striker scored 13 goals at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, a record that still stands

Former French striker Just Fontaine, the player with the most goals in one edition of the World Cup and one of his country’s great football legends, has died aged 89, the Stade Reims and Nice, the clubs where he played developed for most of his career.

Fontaine broke the record at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, a championship in which France reached the semi-finals for the first time in its history, being defeated by Pelé’s Brazil, who went on to win the tournament.

In addition to the record 13 goals and that historic World Cup semi-final for France, Just Fontaine achieved a great record in club football with four French championship titles (one with Nice, three with Reims), two French Cups (Nice in 1954 and Reims in 1958 ) and a final of the European Cup – the current Champions League), lost 2-0 to the great Real Madrid of Di Stéfano, Puskas and Kopa in 1959.

«A French football star, an exceptional goalscorer, a legendary remense. The SDR sends its sincere condolences to his family and loved ones,” Stade Reims wrote on his official Twitter profile. Nice for his part, where he played for three seasons before leaving for Stade Reims to meet another legend like Raymond Kopa, contracted by Real Madrid, lamented the loss of the striker, “French football icon” and to whom he will pay “homage” before the game against Auxerre next Friday.

Marrakesh-born striker, who had to retire very quickly due to injury (aged 29), won four league titles, one with Nice (1956) and three with Stade Reims (1958, 1960 and 1962), two national cups, one with each team , and played in the 1959 European Cup Final with Stade Reims, losing 2–0 to Real Madrid 2–0. In addition, he received the Bronze Ball in 1958 behind Kopa and the German Helmut Rahn.

“Only Fontaine’s disappearance saddens me, as it will sadden all football fans and our national team. Just is and will remain a legend of the French team. The striker who, by scoring 13 goals in a final phase of the World Cup, that of 1958, set a record that is still unbeatable during the first major epic of the ‘Bleus’ in the World Cup,” said Didier Deschamps, the current Frenchman coach, on the website of the French Federation.

The coach recalled having “the opportunity” to meet “several times” the striker, “a man of great kindness, very respectful of the generations that followed him”. “His attachment to the French team was strong and sincere,” he concluded. His 13 goals put him fourth in the tournament’s world ranking, matched since the end of last year by Argentina’s Lionel Messi, who amassed 13 goals, although in his case he tallied between the 2006 and 2022 tournaments.

Source: La Verdad


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