Disappearance: François Remetter, dean of French internationals, has died

Black and white photos do not always pay homage to his famous black goalkeeper shirt with a red stripe: it was in this way, in the 1950s, when his sobriety and elegance crossed, that we recognized François Remetter, whom fans of the Strasbourg nicknamed “Frantz”, and whose name is forever linked to that of the “heroes of Sweden”, third in the 1958 World Cup. Disappeared this Sunday at the age of 94, François Remetter was the oldest French international, a distinction that is now falls on another from 1958. World Cup goalkeeper Dominique Colonna was born a few days after him.

Without gloves or cap, he had been a reliable and appreciated goalkeeper, and if not as popular as René Vignal, his reckless and spectacular rival at the time, he had managed to play seventeen times immediately for the French team from 1954 to 1957, a rare performance in such unstable times, sportingly, for the national team.

He was the last French survivor of the 1954 World Cup, which he had just played after Vignal broke his arm. Four years later, in Sweden, he started the competition as a starter, when he had played the entire season with Bordeaux in D2, but the goals conceded against Paraguay (7-3) and Yugoslavia (2-3) had made him lose his place in favor of Stephanois Claude Abbes.

A modern goalkeeper, gifted for the foot

He had obtained a 26th and last selection in 1959, for a charity match against Spain (4-3), the day that Roger Marche had scored his only goal in blue, but he could have played a third World Cup, in 1962, if the The France team would not have failed in the playoff against Bulgaria (0-1) at the San Siro, where, coach Georges Verriest recalled, he was a substitute for Pierre Bernard.

His very long club career, from 1948 to 1966, was not marked by any trophy won, with Strasbourg, Metz, Sochaux, Bordeaux, Limoges and Grenoble. He had been one of the first goalkeepers so gifted on the foot, he had even started a game as a center forward, with Limoges, in Nice, in D2, and had been the subject of a record transfer for a goalkeeper, passing from Metz to Sochaux for 13 million (old francs) in 1954. But with a strong character, he had threatened to stop football in 1957, due to salary differences with the president of Sochaux, whom he had replaced, forcing him into a poorly paid exile in Bordeaux.

There was a second act in the life of François Remetter. At a time when the common destiny of the best French players was to become Adidas representatives in their region of origin or to open a bar-tabac in the city of his in-laws, he entered the brand with the three stripes, where he would work for twenty-seven years.

Responsible for one of the scandals of the time: covering the three strips of shoe polish to protest the amount of bonuses that Adidas granted

He had met the young Sepp Blatter in particular, at the Adidas offices in Landersheim, outside Strasbourg, where the future FIFA chief, already introduced to Joao Havelange by Horst Dassler, had seen his salary paid in part by Adidas France. , until 1981. François Remetter was the equipment manufacturer’s representative with the Blues, at a time when the three-stripes brand required that they be highly visible and very white on the shoes.

The former goalkeeper had been directly responsible for one of the scandals of the time, in the middle of the 1978 World Cup, when the majority of the Blues had decided to cover the three strips of shoe polish to protest the amount of bonuses awarded. from Adidas. Other times, other customs: the brand offered a bonus of 5,000 francs per player throughout the competition, and the players, led by Jean-Marc Guillou, had claimed 7,500 francs. François Remetter had refused, the FFF had forgotten to offer to pay the difference when he had collected the moral contract, and so the France national team players had been passed off as painters eager for profit. François Remetter was a life in blue, really.

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