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Raymond Kopa (French pronunciation: ​[ʁɛmɔ̃ kɔpa]; birth name Raymond Kopaszewski;[2] 13 October 1931 – 3 March 2017) was a French footballer, integral to the French national team of the 1950s. At club level he was part of the legendary Real Madrid team of the 1950s, winning three European Cups.

Raymond Kopa
Raymond Kopa 1963b.jpg
Raymond Kopa in 1963
Personal information
Full name Raymond Kopaszewski[1]
Date of birth (1931-10-13)13 October 1931[1]
Place of birth Nœux-les-Mines, France[1]
Date of death 3 March 2017(2017-03-03) (aged 85)
Place of death Angers, France
Height 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)[1]
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Youth career
1941–1949 US Nœux-les-Mines
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1949–1951 Angers 60 (15)
1951–1956 Reims 158 (48)
1956–1959 Real Madrid 79 (24)
1959–1967 Reims 244 (36)
Total 541 (123)
National team
1952–1962 France 45 (18)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Often considered one of the leading players of his generation, Kopa was a free-role advanced playmaker who was quick, agile and known for his love of dribbling. He was also a renowned playmaker, as well as a prolific scorer.[3] In 1958, Kopa was awarded the Ballon d'Or. In 1970, he became the first football player to receive the Légion d'honneur, and in 2004, Pelé named him one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards Ceremony.

Contents

Early and personal lifeEdit

Kopa was born to a family of Polish immigrants.[4] His grandparents were originally from Kraków and migrated to Germany, where his parents were born. They then migrated to France after the First World War. His surname was shortened to Kopa whilst he was at school. At the age of 14 he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, father and brother by working in the coal mines of Nœux-les-Mines. During this time Kopa lost a finger in a mining accident.[2]

Kopa married Christiane, the sister of a team-mate of his at Angers. After retiring from the game he launched his own sportswear brand, eventually settling in Corsica.[2] Kopa died in Angers on 3 March 2017, aged 85.[5]

Kopa was mentored by Paul Sinibaldi. Sinibaldi was godfather to Kopa's son.[6]

Football careerEdit

 
Raymond Kopa in 1969.

After finishing second in the French national youth football trials in 1949,[2] Kopa began his professional career at age 17 with Angers in Ligue 2 and was transferred two years later to Reims, with whom he won French championships in 1953 and 1955. He won the 1953 Latin Cup with Reims, where they defeated Milan 3–0 in the final, and helped them reach the 1956 European Cup Final, which the team lost to Alfredo Di Stéfano's Real Madrid, 4–3.[citation needed]

Kopa had first attracted attention in Spain when he played for France against Spain in a match in Madrid in March 1955, which led to the Spanish sports newspaper Marca nicknaming him "Little Napoleon".[2] Kopa was transferred to Real Madrid for the 1956–57 season, where he was soon joined by Ferenc Puskás. Despite playing as an inside right (Playing as the no. 10 is his usual position), Kopa's time at Real Madrid was extremely successful as he helped the club to three successive European cup victories, being incredibly influential in the Spanish capital. Playing with the Spanish giants, Kopa won the Spanish league in 1957 and 1958. Kopa was also the first French player to win the European Cup when Madrid defeated Fiorentina 2–0 in the 1957 final. He would go on to be European champion again in 1958 and 1959, the last against former side Reims, where Just Fontaine played. In the 1959–60 season, Kopa returned to France to finish his career with Reims, where he won further Championnats in 1960 and 1962. In total, he scored 75 goals in 346 matches in France's top flight, and was awarded the Ballon d'or by France Football in 1958.[7]

With the France national team, Kopa scored 18 goals in 45 matches between 1952 and 1962. He played in the 1958 FIFA World Cup in Sweden, where he performed outstandingly and was one of the players of the tournament, scoring three goals as he led France to the semi-finals, where they succumbed to a strong Brazil team. The French team finished third in the tournament.[8]

In March 2004, Kopa was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers.[9] In 2018, France Football's Kopa Trophy, awarded to the best young football player in the calendar year was named in Raymond's honor. The first recipient was fellow Frenchman Kylian Mbappe.

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

[10]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
1949–50 Angers Division 2
1950–51
1951–52 Reims Division 1 33 8
1952–53 33 13
1953–54 31 11
1954–55 31 11
1955–56 30 5
Spain League Copa del Rey Supercopa de España Europe Total
1956–57 Real Madrid La Liga 22 6 0 0 - - 8 2 30 8
1957–58 27 8 0 0 - - 7 3 34 11
1958–59 30 10 0 0 - - 7 1 37 11
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
1959–60 Reims Division 1 36 14
1960–61 30 5
1961–62 30 2
1962–63 34 1
1963–64 25 5
1964–65 Division 2 29 3
1965–66 27 3
1966–67 Division 1 33 3
Total France 462 99
Spain 79 24 0 0 - - 22 6 101 30
Career total 541 123

InternationalEdit

 
Raymond Kopa in 2005
France national team
Year Apps Goals
1952 5 2
1953 6 3
1954 6 4
1955 6 4
1956 1 0
1957 0 0
1958 7 4
1959 4 0
1960 3 1
1961 3 0
1962 4 0
Total 45 18

International goalsEdit

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 11 November 1952 Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Paris, France   Northern Ireland 3–1 Win Friendly
2. 11 November 1952 Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Paris, France   Northern Ireland 3–1 Win Friendly
3. 14 May 1953 Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Paris, France   Wales 6–1 Win Friendly
4. 14 May 1953 Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Paris, France   Wales 6–1 Win Friendly
5. 20 September 1953 Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg, Luxembourg   Luxembourg 1–6 Win 1954 FIFA World Cup Q.
6. 30 May 1954 Stade Heysel, Brussels, Belgium   Belgium 3–3 Draw Friendly
7. 19 June 1954 Charmilles Stadium, Geneva, Switzerland   Mexico 3–2 Win 1954 FIFA World Cup
8. 11 November 1954 Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Paris, France   Belgium 2–2 Draw Friendly
9. 11 November 1954 Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Paris, France   Belgium 2–2 Draw Friendly
10. 17 March 1955 Estadio Chamartín, Madrid, Spain   Spain 1–2 Win Friendly
11. 15 May 1955 Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir, Paris, France   England 1–0 Win Friendly
12. 9 October 1955 St. Jakob Stadium, Basel, Switzerland    Switzerland 1–2 Win Friendly
13. 23 October 1955 Dinamo Stadium, Moscow, Soviet Union   Soviet Union 2–2 Draw Friendly
14. 8 June 1958 Idrottsparken, Norrköping, Sweden   Paraguay 7–3 Win 1958 FIFA World Cup
15. 15 June 1958 Eyravallen, Örebro, Sweden   Scotland 2–1 Win 1958 FIFA World Cup
16. 26 June 1958 Ullevi, Gothenburg, Sweden   West Germany 3–6 Win 1958 FIFA World Cup
17. 1 October 1958 Parc des Princes, Paris, France   Greece 7–1 Win UEFA EURO 1960
18. 27 March 1960 Praterstadion, Vienna, Austria   Austria 2–4 Win UEFA EURO 1960
Correct as of 13 January 2013[11]

HonoursEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "Raymond Kopa". L'Équipe (in French). Paris. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Gaillard, William (4 February 2011). "Goals, not coal, for Kopa". uefa.com. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  3. ^ The Greatest Offensive Midfielders of All-Time. xtratime.org
  4. ^ Braun, Didier. "L'Équipe de France de football, c'est l'histoire en raccourci d'un siècle d'immigration" (PDF). L'Équipe. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 January 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  5. ^ Bouchez, Yann (3 March 2017). "Raymond Kopa, figure du football français, est mort". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  6. ^ Philippe Rey-Gorez and Alexandre Audabram (2 April 2018). "Paul Sinibaldi, ancienne star du Stade de Reims, est mort" (in French). France Bleu. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  7. ^ Hanot, Gabriel. "Palmarès Ballon d'Or – 1958 – Raymond Kopa". www.francefootball.fr. Retrieved 20 February 2017.
  8. ^ France vs. West Germany, 1958 FIFA World Cup
  9. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Raymond Kopa". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
  11. ^ "Raymond Kopa – national football team player".
  12. ^ "France – Footballer of the Year".
  13. ^ "Matches of FIFA XI".
  14. ^ "ERIC BATTY’S WORLD XI – THE SIXTIES" Retrieved on 26 November 2015
  15. ^ World Soccer: The 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time Retrieved on 28 November 2015
  16. ^ "Legends". Golden Foot. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  17. ^ "UEFA President's Award". UEFA.com. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Décret du 6 avril 2007 portant promotion et nomination" [Decree of 6 April 2007 on promotion and appointment]. Journal Officiel de la République Française (in French). 2007 (84): 6583. 8 April 2007. PREX0710142D. Retrieved 5 June 2019.

External linksEdit