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Meeting UEFA President Michel Platini

Published: Saturday 24 May 2014, 13.51CET
He likes gnocchi, he is not as good at golf as he would like to be, and he can think on his feet – as he did as a player; UEFA.com spends an hour with UEFA President Michel Platini.
by Josh Hershman
from Lisbon

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Published: Saturday 24 May 2014, 13.51CET

Meeting UEFA President Michel Platini

He likes gnocchi, he is not as good at golf as he would like to be, and he can think on his feet – as he did as a player; UEFA.com spends an hour with UEFA President Michel Platini.

He likes gnocchi, he is not as good at golf as he would like to be, and for a man who is not personally on social media just yet, he quite enjoyed his first Facebook Q&A.

UEFA President Michel Platini was quietly pleased to answer some of the 2,600 questions posed to him on the official UEFA Champions League Facebook page in Lisbon this morning. Some of them were easy – favourite food? "I like oysters but I also like gnocchi with tomato sauce and basil!" Favourite sport apart from football? "I like to play golf but I like to watch rugby," he replied, adding somewhat sheepishly: "My handicap is a secret."

While there were plenty of lighter topics to discuss, the UEFA President did not shy away from big issues; he gave a simple, straight answer to a user interested in knowing where the money from sanctions handed out for Financial Fair Play transgressions would go ("It will be redistributed to the clubs") and gave his views on whether video technology should be called upon by match officials during games: "You can have 200 bad decisions so if you have 200 video replays then the game will go on for five hours! With the additional referees we keep on top of the situation."

Saturday's UEFA Champions League final was very much on his mind too – not least since the trophy was sitting just behind us throughout our Q&A session – though Mr Platini sensibly hedged his bets as to who would win the game between Real Madrid CF and Club Atlético de Madrid. "It is complicated," he noted. "The final is always difficult. It's a really difficult call. I have no idea! Whoever I give the cup to will be the winner."

Saturday's winners will be the third team in the space of four days to receive a UEFA trophy from Mr Platini; on Wednesday he gave the UEFA European Under-17 Championship prize to England, while VfL Wolfsburg received the UEFA Women's Champions League silverware on Thursday night. Being UEFA President is a thrilling job, but one in which there is not much time off. "Football never stops, there is never a break," he said with a shrug. "There are always challenges – you never know what is around the corner and therefore you can never relax. If both teams could win every game then life would be a lot easier!"

There may be pressure in his job, but there is plenty of pleasure too. It is obvious when you meet him that Mr Platini still loves the game – and those who have seen the former three-time Ballon D'Or winner in action at staff kickabouts in Nyon, will tell you he can still play it too. He has also kept his sense of humour … when asked whether he or Zinédine Zidane were France's best ever player, he replied with another smile: "For my grandmother it's me and for his grandmother it's him!"

That deftness of tongue has some parallels with the deftness of touch which Mr Platini displayed as a player, and the ability to think on his feet will come into play once more when he hands out the UEFA Champions League trophy on Saturday night. One user asked what the UEFA President said when he handed the players their medals at the end of the game. "It depends if I know him or not and it depends on mine and his mood," said Mr Platini, applying an elegant finish once more. "I usually know the players so I improvise like a good No10!"

Click here to see all of the UEFA President's answers

Last updated: 26/05/14 8.55CET

Related information

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=2109845.html#meeting+uefa+president+michel+platini

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