World Cup Legends: France and Manuel Amoros

by Alan Robins

manuel amorosTo represent your country at 20 years old you could arguably be considered a pretty good player. To be a regular in the World Cup team at that age you must be pretty special but then it can be argued that Manuel Amoros was a pretty special player. Renowned at right full back – but equally at home on the left – Amoros would go on to be recognized as one of the best full backs in French history.

 Born on the 01st February 1962 in Nîmes to French/Spanish heritage, Amoros joined local team Gallia Club Lunel at 10 years old before at 15 moving to ASM Monaco. Originally seen in his youth as a striker, Amoros was soon converted to full back. Debuting in the first team in 1980 he initially played at left back forging an excellent relationship with left winger Bruno Bellone. After eighteen appearances in his first season, he became fully established the following with 37 appearances.

His performances earned a place [as did bellone] in the French 1982 World Cup team including the likes of Platini, Giresse, Tigana, Six and Bossis. France would get to the semi-finals before going out on penalties in an incredible match overshadowed by the Schumacher ‘assault’ on Patrick Battiston. What is sometimes forgotten is how close Les Bleus came to winning with a thunderous Amoros shot cannoning off the bar in the last-minute of normal time. Amoros was nominated best young player of the World Cup.

Domestically, Amoros and AS Monaco would excel, winning Ligue 1 in 1982 and 1988, finishing runners-up in 1984. Coupe de France winners in 1980 and 1985, finalists in 1984 & 89 and the Trophée des Champions in 1985. In nine years at Les Rouges et Blancs, Amoros made 348 appearances, scoring 42 goals – an outstanding number for a full back.

During this time, Amoros had captained Les Bleus at Euro 1984 that would see France win their first major title. However a red card in the first match saw him not play again until the final, coming on as substitute. The 1986 World Cup saw France get past Brazil in the quarter finals in one the great World Cup matches before falling yet again to Germany in the semis. Amoros was recognized as one of the finest defenders of his age, being voted into the team of the tournament. Amoros would go on win 82 caps in his ten-year international career.

 1989 brought a move to Olympique de Marseilles and three league titles by 1993 and a move to Olympique Lyonnais for two season before returning to Marseilles and a final season.

 Adept with both feet, technically proficient, a determined and combative full back with the speed, skill to excel as a wing back as well as the ability to score goals. Manuel Amoros was arguably the complete full back.

GREATEST SQUAD – STARTING XI [4-2-3-1]

FABIEN BARTHEZ

LAURENT BLANC                         MARCEL DESAILLY

MANUEL AMOROS                                                                                 BIXENTE LIZARAZU

CLAUDE MAKÉLÉLÉ   JEAN TIGANA

RAYMOND KOPA   MICHEL PLATINI    ZINEDINE ZIDANE

JUST FONTAINE

 

GREATEST SQUAD – RESERVES

GK: JOËL BATS

GK: GERORGE CARNUS

CB: LILIAM THURAM

CB: MAXIME BOSSIS

SWP: MARIUS TRÉSOR

CDM: LUIS FERNÁNDEZ

CM: ALAIN GIRESSE

CM: PATRICK VIEIRA

AM: YOURI DJORKAEFF

LF: JEAN VINCENT

CF: ROGER PIANTONI

ST: JEAN-PIERRE PAPIN

 

Created by Alan Robins                                                          Images by Jorge Manuel Martins

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