Legendary French striker Just Fontaine has passed away at the age of 89. The former Nice and Reims goalscorer netted an incredible 196 total goals between the two French clubs during his career. He spent his final six seasons as a professional at Reims, scoring 145 goals in just 152 games.
Reims president reflects on illustrious career of Just Fontaine
Current Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot released a statement on the unfortunate news.
“It is with great emotion that we learned of the death of Just Fontaine this Wednesday morning,” said Caillot. “It is difficult for me to find the adjectives to describe the impact he has had here, contributing greatly to the influence ofthe Stade de Reims, of which he wrote, with other glorious elders, the main letters of nobility.”
“We are losing an ambassador, a pioneer who left an indelible mark on history. Like Raymond Kopa, the Stade de Reims will strive to keep his legend alive, telling his story, recounting his exploits, and passing on his legacy to younger generations, so that none of us can ever forget the player and the man he was.”
Striker collected Golden Boot at 1958 World Cup with record display
Along with his impressive scoring record at the club level, Fontaine was also prolific with the France national team. In fact, the forward scored 30 goals in just 21 international games for his country. Undoubtedly his most memorable moment for France was when he scored 13 goals at the 1958 World Cup. Despite the third-placed finish in that tournament, the Frenchman collected the Golden Boot award.
Acting French Football Federation president Philippe Diallo also released a statement discussing Fontaine’s impact on the sport. “The death of Just Fontaine plunges French football into deep emotion andimmense sadness,” said Diallo.
“Just Fontaine left his mark on French and international football. He wrote one of the most beautiful pages in the history of the France team. Beyond his immense career as a player, Just Fontaine has played a major role in the influence of French football.”
After his playing career was over, Fontaine managed Paris Saint-Germain, Toulouse, and the Morocco national team as well. As a player, the striker was named the best Frenchman of the last 50 years by the FFF in 2003 and was included in Pele’s top 125 living players list in 2004.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PanoramiC