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Montevideo, September 21st 2023 - 19:29 UTC



Single World Cup most prolific scorer Fontaine dies aged 89

Thursday, March 2nd 2023 - 08:20 UTC
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Fontaine was forced to retire through injury at the age of 27 Fontaine was forced to retire through injury at the age of 27

French football legend Just Fontaine, who scored 13 goals in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden thus drawing attention to personal achievements for the first time, died Wednesday at the age of 89. His record remains unsurpassed to this day.

Born in Marrakech (Morocco) on August 18, 1933, the son of a French father and a Spanish mother, Fontaine achieved worldwide fame with his great scoring output for France at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. He scored successively against Paraguay (3), Yugoslavia (2), Scotland (1), Northern Ireland (2), Brazil (1), and West Germany (4). His team only lost to the Yugoslavians (2-3) and in the semifinals to Pelé's Brazil, who became champions for the first time in their history that year.

Since then, Fontaine holds the record for the number of goals scored in a single edition of the World Cup with 13 goals, which also made him the top scorer in this prestigious tournament until Brazil's Ronaldo reached 15 goals in Germany 2006, and was eventually replaced at the throne by Germany's Miroslav Klose, who reached 16 goals at Brazil 2014.

Fontaine's playing career was cut short by injuries, but that did not stop him from making a big mark on the pitch. He scored 17 goals in his first season in the First Division with Nice in 1953. He won the French Cup (1954) and then the championship (1956) with Aiglons, before joining Stade de Reims in 1956, with whom he reached the European Cup final in 1959, where they lost to Real Madrid, but won three Leagues (1958, 1960 and 1962) and a National Cup (1958).

In 1958 he was summoned to Les Bleus due to René Bliard's injury. That year he was also the top scorer of the French championship with 34 goals.

His exceptional career was interrupted on January 1, 1961, when he suffered a double fracture in his left leg during a championship match at Sochaux. Back on the pitch, his leg played up again and he had to retire in 1962, aged 27, after scoring 165 goals in 200 French League games and 30 goals from 21 caps.

Off the field, he was co-founder of the footballers' union (UNFP) in France and had a short-lived stint as manager of the French national team with two matches in 1967.

In 1974, Fontaine joined forces with Daniel Hechter to manage Paris Saint-Germain. He also had an experience with the Morocco national team in the early 1980s. He retired  from coaching for good when he opened several sports gear stores.

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