Heroes of our Time

10 01 2010

Number 1: Michel Platini

I gained my admiration for the curly Frenchmen in the old fashioned way, magazines. It was an article in a now long-defunct magazine, a magazine whose name escapes me. The first attraction was a pull out poster of Platini, he was painted on to a lovely 1980s abstract background. What really drew my attention were the striking photos, like this one;

Juventus 2

The pictures had a magical effect, they set me dreaming above stylish Italy. The grounds, the fans, the colours, the cut of the shirt, the strange sponsor, the Kappa logo, the collars, the stars where the badge should be. Everything smelt of sophistication and the exotic.

Just by reading that article you knew Platini was a special player. I had to rely on the article as I hadn’t seen him play yet. That’s the way we used to do it, we had no saturation coverage on TV, we didn’t even have You Tube. All you had was  a name, some pictures, a stripy kit,  some words and your imagination. He became a hero to me. We were the last generation to have this freedom, one good thing about the 1980s.

I didn’t see him in action until the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. My abiding memeory of that World Cup, apart from Maradona, was the Quarter Final between Brazil and France. Thanks to Michel  I was squarely behind France, when everybody I knew was behind Brazil, or more likely didn’t really care. We now know that it was an exciting game  that went to penalties. Platini missed his penalty but France still won. I was still too young to appreciate the finer points of midfield play so I was just happy that France had won. It wasn’t until I saw Hero, the official film of Mexico ’86 that I could finally appreciate how good he was;

 

2nd Round v Italy & Group Stage v Canada

 

Quarter Final v Brazil (Part 1)

 

 

Quarter Final v Brazil (Part 2) & Semi Final v West Germany

 

Of course we are all older now and the warts become visible; his role as an administror, the celebrations after scoring in the  1985 European Cup Final, rumours etc etc, but that doesn’t diminish him as a idol in my eyes.

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