Former France Striker and World Cup Record Holder Just Fontaine Dies Aged 89

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Fontaine, who scored 30 goals in 21 international appearances for France between 1953 and 1960, is joint-fourth on the all-time World Cup goalscorers list alongside Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

Just Fontaine, a “monument of French football” who holds the record for the most goals scored at a single World Cup, has died at the age of 89.

Fontaine scored 13 goals in just six matches for France at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden as they finished third.

Fontaine’s death was announced by Paris Saint-Germain , who he managed between 1973 and 1976, leading them to promotion back to Ligue 1 in 1974. The club described Fontaine as a “monument of French football”.

“A star of French football, an outstanding striker, a legendary Reims player,” his former club Stade de Reims said.

The French Football Federation (FFF) described Fontaine as “the eternal goalscorer” and “a legend of world football”.

“The death of Just Fontaine plunges French football into deep emotion and immense sadness,” FFF interim president Philippe Diallo said. “He wrote one of the most beautiful pages in the history of the French team.”

France coach Didier Deschamps also paid tribute to Fontaine in a statement FFF released. “The death of Just Fontaine saddens me, as it will inevitably sadden all those who love football and our national team,” he said.

“‘Justo’ is, and will remain, a legend of the team. The striker who, by scoring 13 goals during a final phase of the World Cup, set a record still unequalled.

“‘Justo’ was a man of great kindness, very respectful of the generations who succeeded him with Les Bleus. His attachment to the France team was strong and sincere. I extend my thoughts to his family, his loved ones, and all our great elders today in pain,” Deschamps added.

A minute’s applause in tribute to Fontaine will be held at all French football grounds, starting with Wednesday’s matches in the French Cup.

Born in Morocco in 1933, Fontaine started out at USM Casablanca before joining Nice in 1953. He moved on to Reims three years later. He was, however, forced to retire in 1962 at the age of 28 after suffering a double leg fracture.

Fontaine is also remembered for helping to form French player’s union the UNFP, becoming its first president in 1961. In 2004, the prolific striker was named on Brazil legend Pele’s list of the 125 greatest living footballers.