Former France striker Just Fontaine dies aged 89

Former France striker Just Fontaine dies aged 89

Former French footballer Just Fontaine, who holds the record for the most goals scored at a single FIFA World Cup tournament, has died at the age of 89.

Fontaine netted 13 times in just six matches for Les Bleus on their way to a third-place finish at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden; a record made more impressive seeing as he played in just one World Cup tournament.

He scored in every game in Sweden, including an outstanding four goals in a 6-3 victory over West Germany in the third-place match. A tournament he shouldnโ€™t have even played in if not for injuries to fellow forwards Thadee Cisowski and Reims team-mate Rene Bliard.

He is joint-fourth on the all-time World Cup goalscorers list alongside Argentina’s Lionel Messi with 13 goals apiece, behind German duo of Gerd Muller (14) Miroslav Klose (16), and Brazilian phenomenon Ronaldo De Lima, who finished with 15 goals.

Tributes have started pouring in, with his former club Stade de Reims saying: “A star of French football, an outstanding striker, a legendary Reims player.โ€


Born in Marrakech, Morocco in 1933, Fontaine played for three clubs in his career, USM Casablanca, Nice, and Stade de Reims, where he ended his career.

The prolific forward scored 258 goals in 284 appearances for the clubs and also scored 30 goals in 21 matches for France from 1953 to 1960.

He spent much of his club career at Reims, where he scored 145 goals in 152 appearances and won five titles including three Ligue 1 titles and the Coupe de France in 1958. Although he led Reims to the 1959 European Cup final, they lost to a legendary Real Madrid side that had Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas.

At Nice, he won the Ligue 1 and the French Cup once, while scoring 51 goals in 84 appearances. He retired forcefully in 1962 at the age of 28 due to a serious double leg fracture.

Fontaine, nicknamed โ€œle canonnierโ€ became Franceโ€™s head coach in 1967 before stints at Paris St-Germain, Toulouse and the Moroccan National Team. Furthermore, he was named on Brazil legend Pele’s list of the 125 greatest living footballers in 2004.

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