Michel Platini (France)
‘He could thread the ball through the eye of a needle, as well as finish,’ said Bobby Charlton, of a player who left an indelible mark on the Unofficial Football World Championships.
Born in 1955, Platini scored a remarkable 41 goals in 72 games from midfield for France, including 15 goals in just 18 UFWC games. He has the same number of UFWC goals as Pele, and some would argue that Platini was the better footballer.
After captaining his country to European Championships and UFWC glory in 1984, Platini was appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour. He was voted European Footballer of the Year three times in a row in 1983, 1984, and 1985, and World Player of the Year in 1984 and 1985. He later managed France, but failed to match his successes as a player. He is now the president of Uefa.
Like many of football’s greatest players, Platini never won the World Cup but he can at least add the UFWC title to his impressive list of honours.
During his country’s successful UFWC reign at Euro 84, Platini pulled off a rare footballing feat that still amazes today. In two consecutive games, against Belgium and Yugoslavia, the French captain scored two consecutive ‘perfect’ hat-tricks (one goal with the left foot, one with the right, and one with the head).
Granted, the second goal against Belgium was a penalty, but they all count.
The first of the six goals was the best: Platini laid a free-kick short to Patrick Battiston, whose thunderous shot hit the crossbar. Platini pounced on the rebound, driving the ball home from the edge of the box.
You can see both hat-tricks in the videos below:
1. Michel Platini UFWC hat-trick vs Belgium, 16 June 1984
2. Michel Platini UFWC hat-trick vs Yugoslavia, 19 June 1984