Former France forward Piantoni passes away

A European Cup runner-up with Reims in 1959 and a 1958 World Cup bronze medalist with France, Roger Piantoni has died at the age of 86.

Roger Piantoni (centre) with France at the 1958 FIFA World Cup finals
Roger Piantoni (centre) with France at the 1958 FIFA World Cup finals ©Getty Images

A three-time French league champion with Stade de Reims, former forward Roger Piantoni has died at the age of 86.

First signed by Nancy aged 19, he was Ligue 1's 28-goal top scorer in his first season, 1950/51, and scored regularly for the Lorraine side until leaving in 1957 for Reims, where he replaced the Real Madrid-bound Raymond Kopa. With Reims he won three French titles and a French Cup, also playing in the 2-0 loss to Real Madrid in the 1959 European Cup final.

In 1958 Piantoni struck three times as France made it to the FIFA World Cup semi-finals, losing out to Pelé's Brazil, though he missed the third-place play-off game against West Germany due to appendicitis. A serious knee injury suffered on international duty at the end of 1959 hampered his later career, but while he earned the last of his 37 France caps in 1961, he played on until 1966, spending his final two seasons with Nice.

Club president Jean-Pierre Caillot said: "If Stade de Reims have a special place in French football, we owe it to the illustrious players who wrote our club's history in gold letters. Superb left-winger Roger Piantoni was one of those."

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