PARIS: Jean Vincent, one of the central figures in French football’s outstanding era of the 1950s, has died aged 82.
Vincent made his name as a young, speedy left winger with the Lille team who won two cups and a league title in the mid-1950s. He was then sold to the Reims club who joined the likes of Real Madrid and Milan in pioneering the revolutionary European Champions Cup.
Vincent, and outstanding inside left partner Roger Piantoni, won three further league titles (1958, 1960 and 1962) and were European runners-up against Alfredo Di Stefano’s Madrid in 1956 and 1959. In the latter final his late tackle on Raymond Kopa left his France team-mate an angry, limping passenger.
Weeks later Kopa returned to Reims but, reportedly, barely ever spoke to Vincent again and was troubled by the knee injury for the remainder of his career.
Vincent scored 22 goals in 46 internationals for France including the run to third place at the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden.
After retiring he built an equally successful career as a coach. He guided Nantes to two league titles and one cup and took them to the semi-finals of the Cup-winners Cup in 1980. He went on to coach the national teams of Cameroon and Tunisia before retiring in 1987.
“We have lost a legend of French football,” said Nantes in a statement announcing Vincent’s death.