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Michel Platini :President of Union of European Football Associations

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Michel Platini was a French soccer star who won three straight Ballon d’Or Awards as a player before becoming president of the Union of European Football Associations.

Synopsis
Born on June 21, 1955, in Joeuf, France, Michel Platini began his professional soccer career with AS Nancy in 1972. He won three straight Ballon d’Or Awards while playing for Italy’s Juventus FC in the 1980s, and led France to back-to-back semifinal appearances in the World Cup. After retiring in 1987, Platini became a coach and held several executive posts until he was elected UEFA president in 2007.

Early Years
Michel François Platini was born on June 21, 1955, in Joeuf, France. His father, Aldo, was a professional soccer player who became a director of the AS Nancy club, and young Platini sought to follow in his footsteps. He joined the AS Joeuf youth team as an 11-year-old, and landed with Nancy as a reserve at age 17.

Playing Career
Platini developed into a prominent player for Nancy, using his impressive passing and free-kick skills to spark the club to the Ligue 2 championship in 1975. He helped France reach the quarterfinals at the Olympics the following year, and was named French Footballer of the Year in 1976 and ’77.

Considered a key member of the 1978 French World Cup team, Platini was blamed when Les Bleus were bounced in the first round. The midfielder rebuilt his reputation after joining AS Saint-Étienne in 1979, where he won a Ligue 1 championship, and his strong play during France’s run to the 1982 World Cup semifinals erased any negative feelings about his capabilities.

Platini’s career pinnacle came following his move to Italian powerhouse Juventus FC in 1982. He led the Old Lady to the Italian Cup championship in his first season, earning him the first of three straight Ballon d’Or Awards. After Juventus claimed the 1984 Serie A title, Platini delivered an unforgettable performance for the French team in the 1984 European Championships, twice notching a “perfect hat trick” (a goal scored with both feet and the head) en route to an incredible nine goals in five games.

Platini netted the lone goal in the 1985 European Cup final victory over Liverpool at Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, but the victory was marred by the horrific deaths of 39 fans from a pregame stampede. Platini was criticized for celebrating his goal in such a somber environment, though he insisted the players didn’t understand the magnitude of the day’s events.

After helping Juventus notch another league title in 1986, Platini returned to Les Bleus for one more run at World Cup glory. Featuring the talented “Carré Magique” (Magic Square) midfield of Platini, Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Luis Fernandez, France treated fans to a beautiful display of team soccer until bowing out again in the semifinals.

Platini retired in 1987 at age 32, finishing with 312 goals in 580 career club matches and a then-record 41 goals over 79 international appearances for France.

Coach and Executive
Platini took over as national team coach in 1988 and led France through an impressive stretch of undefeated play, but stepped down when the team lost in the first round of the 1992 European Championships. Afterward, he became co-president of the FIFA World Cup Organizing Committee for the 1998 World Cup in France.

Beginning in 2002, Platini served as a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, chairman of the Technical Development Committee and vice chairman of the Football Committee. He was elected president of the Union of European Football Associations in January 2007, and reelected for a second four-year term in March 2011.

In recognition of his incredible accomplishments as a player, Platini was voted to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2008 and to the Italian Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

Barcelona

I’m really grateful to our fans, Messi speaks after netting hat-trick

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Barcelona talisman, Lionel Messi, was given a standing ovation by Real Betis supporters, after scoring his 33rd La Liga hat trick in their 4-1 win at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.

Messi opened the scoring with a free kick and added the second before the break after a brilliant Luis Suarez assist.

He completed his treble late on with an exquisite chip, after Suarez and Loren Moron had exchanged goals.

The third Messi strike, which killed off any late hopes of a Betis comeback, drew an ovation from the home supporters which the Argentine international says he has never previously experienced.

“I don’t ever remember a night like this [being applauded by rival supporters].

“I’m really grateful for the way the fans responded. I honestly don’t remember an ovation like that [from rival fans],” Messi told Movistar.

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Sadio Mane top highest goal scorer in Premier League

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Following the conclusion of match-day 31 of the English Premier League, EPL, on Sunday, below are the current highest goal scorers chasing the Golden Boot in the English top-flight league.

Liverpool forward, Sadio Mane scored in his side’s 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday to take his tally to 17 goals so far this season.

Everton stars, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison scored in their side’s 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Sunday to take their tallies to 12 goals each.

See top 20 of Premier League highest goal scorers so far below:

18 gaols: Sergio Agüero (Manchester City).

17 goals: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Harry Kane (Tottenaham), Sadio Mane (Liverpool).

15 goals: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

13 goals: Eden Hazard (Chelsea).

12 goals: Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Raúl Jiménez (Wolves), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Richarlison (Everton), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United).

11 goals: Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Son Heung-Min (Tottenham), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Joshua King (Bournemouth), Glenn Murray (Brighton).

10 goals: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham).

Meanwhile, the match-day 32 of the English Premier League will resume coming weekend.

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Football

Dogo explains as Sunshine Stars FC held to goalless draw in Akure by Enyimba

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Sunshine Star Football Club of Akure have played a goalless draw with Enyimba International Football Club of Aba in the match 11 of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, at the Akure Township Stadium.

The week 11 fixture saw the Enyimba team doing most of the defensive playing, while the Akure-based team, Sunshine Stars FC’s strikers could not prove their potency within the box 18 of the Aba team after series of chances.

Reacting after the match which saw his team drop two points at home, the Sunshine Stars FC coach, Kabiru Dogo, who described the performance of his boys as not too good, disclosed that it was due to logistic problems within the club.

“As a coach, I’m not happy for the outcome of the match, as you can see my team played one of their best games today but we could not get the goals in the area of attacking, because football is all about goals, I could not say we did well, we didn’t do well, but there is room for improvement.

“We had opportunities to bring in new strikers into the team but due to some problems and logistics within the club, we had to manage what we have,” the Sunshine coach stated.

On his own part, the Head Coach of Enyimba International FC, Usman Abd’allah, who lauded his team’s spirit at getting the deserving one point away from home, maintained that it will help in boosting the mental stability of his boys in subsequent fixtures.

“A draw is a good one for us, even though we came here for the three points because the last two away matches because we were able to grab two point each from that match. But we thought we are going to get our first three away points but we had one point, it’s okay.

“At this moment, we are one step ahead because we are now picking up because the away points we have been getting is helping in replacing those we have lost. It’s a recovery of what we lost against Lobi Stars.

“I like the result and the fighting spirit of my boys,” Usman stated.

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