Legendary France striker Just Fontaine, who holds the record for the most goals scored at a single men’s World Cup, has died aged 89.
Fontaine struck a record 13 goals in just six games at the 1958 tournament in Sweden, where France reached the semi-finals.
Fontaine was a last-minute call-up to the French squad and was largely unheard of outside his country before going on to set the record.
No player has come close to breaking Fontaine’s record since. The late Germany forward Gerd Muller scored 10 goals at the 1970 World Cup but that was the last time a player hit double figures at the tournament. In 2006, Fontaine told The Associated Press that he did not think his record would ever be beaten.
“Beating my record? I don’t think it can ever be done,” he said. “The person who wants to beat me has a massive task, doesn’t he? He has to score two goals per game over seven games.”
Fontaine scored 30 goals in 21 international appearances for France between 1953 and 1960 but his career was cut short at the age of 28 due to a broken leg. At club level, he scored 259 goals in 283 matches for French club Stade de Reims and led the team to the 1959 European Cup final against Real Madrid. The team said: “A star of French football, an outstanding goalscorer, a Reims legend.”
Fontaine’s death was announced by Paris Saint-Germain, who he managed between 1973 and 1976, leading them to promotion back to Ligue 1 in 1974. PSG described Fontaine as a “monument of French football”.
In 1958, France were knocked out of the World Cup by Brazil and the 17-year-old Pele, who scored a second-half hat-trick in the semi-finals, but Fontaine went on to score four goals in the third-place game against West Germany.
Germany striker Miroslav Klose holds the record for the most goals scored in a World Cup career with 16 goals scored across four tournaments. Fontaine’s 13 goals place him joint fourth in the all-time men’s World Cup top scorer charts, alongside Argentina’s Lionel Messi who needed five finals to reach that total.