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From Platoche to Mr. President, Platini keeps success as his trademark

From Platoche to Mr. President, Platini keeps success as his trademark

Michel Platini found another way to win.
One of the world's greatest players became one of soccer's most powerful administrators Friday, winning UEFA's presidential election.
With a deft tactical plan centering on winning over the small European nations to his cause, Platini defeated incumbent Lennart Johansson 27-23 to take the leadership of European soccer's governing body.
The Frenchman's curly mop of hair is still as unruly as in his playing days and he still has the energy of a teenager _ even at age 51. Only a small paunch makes it clear he can no longer move with the same fleetness and guile on a soccer pitch.
"This is a political victory," Platini said. "Before this, I won on the pitch. This has been a victory convincing people."
He can't even remember how the thrill of victory on the field compares: "It is a long time ago that I won all those games. Let us say that it is different."
Platini is still best remembered in France as "Platoche," the star for Saint-Etienne, Juventus and France who helped turn the "10" on his shirt into something more than a number. It became the symbol for a smooth playmaker breaking free in midfield, setting up assists for strikers and taking perfectly struck free kicks.
After moving from provincial Nancy and giving Saint-Etienne the title, Platini's play captured the attention of Italian giant Juventus.
The black-and-white became his emblematic shirt. He led the Turin team two Serie A titles, the European Cup Winners Cup and the European Champions Cup in 1985, and the Intercontinental Cup the same year.
On top of all the assists and playmaking, Platini still found time to become top scorer for three seasons in a row.
He was just as good in the blue colors of France. Almost single-handedly, and with a goal in each game, Platini guided Les Bleus to the European Championship in 1984. Perhaps the only slight on his career is the lack of a World Cup title; twice he took France to the semifinals.
Platini's career as a national coach was less illustrious. Still on a high after his retirement, he took charge of the French team in 1988 but failed to qualify for the 1990 World Cup. After France was knocked out in the first round of the 1992 European Championship, Platini resigned.
It turned out he was more adept at administration. Platini became joint president of the organizing committee for the 1998 World Cup in France, which turned into a huge success. He has been an executive committee member of UEFA and FIFA since 2002.
Now, Platini moves to the top job in Europe.


Updated : 2021-04-21 08:03 GMT+08:00