Football community pays tribute to Kopa

A man holds a program with a portrait of French football legend Raymond Kopa during his funeral at Saint-Maurice cathedral in Angers

Luminaries from across the footballing world today attended the funeral of Raymond Kopa, to pay tribute to a true legend of French football. Kopa starred for Les Bleus at the 1958 FIFA World Cup™ and for Real Madrid during their unprecedented continental success in the 1950s.

Unsurprisingly, for a man so feted in the annals of the sport’s history, a number of high profile representatives of the footballing community descended on the French city of Angers to say farewell. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was accompanied by two of Kopa’s former team-mates at Los Blancos, Jose Santamaria and Pachin, at the ceremony. The presidents of a number of leading French clubs were present including, most notably, Angers SCO's president Said Chabane, who represented the club at which Kopa began his career.

Another key component of the Sweden 1958 side, Just Fontaine, was also in attendance alongside the president of the French Football Federation Noel Le Graet. The pair were joined by FIFA Deputy Secretary General Zvonimir Boban, who represented FIFA at the celebration of Kopa’s remarkable life.

The former midfielder was an immense talent, playing a key role in three of Real Madrid’s first five European Cup successes, and showcasing his skills on the global stage with dazzling performances alongside Fontaine at Sweden 1958. Kopa passed away on Friday 3 March aged 85 following a long illness, and was laid to rest in Angers - where his footballing journey began aged 17.  

There was a huge outpouring of sadness across the globe after Kopa’s passing last week, with FIFA President Gianni Infantino among those to pay tribute to the genius of the man born into a family of Polish immigrants as Raymond Kopaszewski.

“Raymond Kopa was an exceptional player, an inspiration for many generations and a man whose commitment to the service of football was flawless throughout his life,” said FIFA President Infantino.

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