Europe

Michel Platini: The fall of a man 'born in football'

UEFA president Michel Platini attends the 64th FIFA congress in Sao Paulo, on the eve of the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. on 11 June 2014 Image copyright AFP

Until recently one of the most powerful figures in world football, Michel Platini's career in the sport now appears to be over.

Banned from all football-related activities by Fifa's ethics committee for eight years following a corruption investigation, it ends his hopes of succeeding Sepp Blatter as Fifa president.

He will also have to step down as a Fifa vice president and as the head of the Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) - a role that gave him enormous power in footballing circles.

He was banned for accepting a disloyal payment of two million Swiss francs (£1.35m, $2m) from Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who was also banned for eight years.

The ethics committee's verdict was damning:

"Mr Platini failed to act with complete credibility and integrity, showing unawareness of the importance of his duties and concomitant obligations and responsibilities."

The Fifa investigation was sparked by a criminal investigation by the Swiss attorney general into the payment.

This investigation is ongoing and his status has been described as somewhere between that of a witness and an accused person by investigators.

The 60-year-old Frenchman had been widely favoured to take over from Mr Blatter as Fifa president in an emergency election to be held on 26 February, but that is now impossible.

He has served as European football chief since 2007, but rose to fame as a player with prodigious skill and flair.

Born on 21 June 1955 in Joeuf, eastern France, Platini began his professional football career playing for French clubs Nancy and Saint-Etienne and later, Italy's Juventus.

The midfielder went on to lead host nation France to victory in the 1984 European Football Championship - and he remains the all-time leading European Championship scorer, with nine strikes.

He also helped inspire France to the semi-finals of two World Cups, in 1982 and 1986.

"I was born in football," he once said.

Image copyright Allsport UK /Allsport
Image caption Platini had five glorious years playing for Italian side Juventus, from 1982-1987

During his international career, in which he made 72 appearances for France, Platini scored 41 goals and was his country's leading scorer until his mark was surpassed by Thierry Henry in 2007.

Dubbed "le Roi" (the king), Platini was one of France's greatest footballers. He was a dashing playmaker who orchestrated matches with a swagger allied to skill, flair and intelligence. He was named European Footballer of the Year on three occasions - 1983, 1984 and 1985.

After 501 matches and 265 goals, he turned to coaching and managed the French national team with mixed results from 1988 to 1992.

After turning down an offer to coach Real Madrid, he was asked by French President Francois Mitterrand to organise the 1998 World Cup in France.

"I met people from Fifa, Sepp Blatter asked me to help him become president and I became his adviser," he said.

He quickly rose through the ranks to become co-president of the Fifa World Cup Organising Committee for the 1998 tournament. And two years later, he was appointed vice-president of the French Football Federation.

Since 2002, Platini has been a member of the executive committee of Uefa, and played a leading role in the organisation of the final round of the Germany World Cup in 2006.