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Top facts about Raymond Kopa, the Napoleon of Soccer

Sun 01 August 2021 | 10:30

Raymond Kopa was one of the stars of the Real Madrid team, having won three European Cups with the legendary Real Madrid team in the 1950s. Read on to find out more facts about Raymond Kopa.

Raymond Kopaszewski, born 13 October 1931, was a French footballer who died in 2017. He was an integral part of the French national team in the 1950s.

Raymond Kopa’s age

was 85 years when he passed away after a long illness at the age of 85 on March 3, 2017, at Angers. Here you can read about the most important facts about the legendary French star.

Certainly, Raymond Kopa is a well-known name in football world, especially French football. He was a professional and first-class player who played for a great team called

Real Madrid

during his football career. By showing his skills and techniques, he created beautiful and attractive scenes for football fans and attracted many ones.

Raymond Kopa was one of the football stars who introduced himself to the world as a professional footballer in the 50's with interesting and spectacular games. Here are some facts about Raymond Kopa.

Top facts about Raymond Kopa:

The first

fact about Raymond Kopa

is that he started his football career in Ligue 2 in France. He was one of the footballers who was a miner before playing in football and worked in coal mines.

An important fact about Raymond Kopa is that he was the first French player to win the Champions League with Real Madrid. In Spain, Raymond Kopa was nicknamed “Little Napoleon.” In 2004, Pele (Brazilian football legend) named Raymond Kopa one of the top 125 footballers.

Raymond Kopa early life

The player's full name is Raymond Kupasowski, but he is abbreviated as Raymond Kopa. Another important fact about Raymond Kopa is that he won the Latin Cup three times with two different teams.

Regarding

Raymond Kopa's childhood

, it should be mentioned that he was born into a family of Polish immigrants. His grandparents were originally from Krakow, Poland, and immigrated to Germany.

Raymond Kopa's parents

were born in Germany.

They immigrated to France after the World War I and the widespread destruction of Germany, and continued to live there. It should be mentioned about Raymond Kopa's childhood that he was born in France and spent his childhood in this country.

At the age of 14, Kopa worked in the coal mines of Nœux-les-Mines and continued the way of life of his grandfather, father and brother. One of his fingers was amputated in an accident while Kopa was working in a coal mine.

Raymond Kopa personal life

Regarding

Raymond Kopa's personal life

, it should be mentioned that he married a woman named Christine, the sister of one of his teammates in Angers, and began a new life.

Another important fact about Raymond Kopa is that after retiring from football, he started his own sports brand and eventually settled in Corsica. He died in 2017 at the age of 85.

Raymond Kopa professional career

Raymond Kopa was a professional footballer. He was born in France and started playing football in this country. During his career, Kopa played as an attacking midfielder for several French clubs and the great club Real Madrid.

Raymond Kopa was one of the top players in the French national team at the national level and played many games for this team. After announcing his retirement from the world of football, he created his own sports brand and continued his activity in sports.

Raymond Kopa had won the Champions League with Real Madrid for three consecutive seasons, and this is a remarkable and valuable statistic.

At the club level, Kopa played 541 games and scored 123 goals. That was a good statistic for an attacking midfielder like Raymond Kopa. He played 45 games nationally and scored 18 goals.

Raymond Kopa club career

Raymond Kopa started his club career at the age of 17 with the Angers in Ligue 2 and was transferred to

Reims

after two years. Kopa had a relatively good performance for Angres, scoring 15 goals.

Reims

A notable

fact about Raymond Kopa

is that in 1951, after leaving the Angres team, he moved to another French team called the Reims. He won the French Football League (LIGUE 1) with Reims in 1953 and 1955.

Kopa won the Latin Cup with Reims in 1953, where they defeated the powerful Milan team 3-0 in the final. The Kopa helped the Reims reach the 1956 European Club Cup final, but they lost the final 4-3 to Alfredo Di Stéfano's Real Madrid.

An important fact about Raymond Kopa is that he played for Reims from 1951 to 1956. He performed very well for the Reims and scored 45 goals.

Real Madrid

Raymond Kopa first attracted attentions in Spain, where in March 1955 he played in a match in Madrid for the French national team against Spain. When Kopa caught the attention of the Spanish media in that game, the Spanish sports newspaper Marca nicknamed him "Little Napoleon."

Kopa moved to Real Madrid as a professional footballer for the 1956 season after playing for Reims for five years. In 1956 he signed a three-year contract with Real Madrid (one of the most powerful teams in La Liga).

When Raymond Kopa joined Real Madrid, another professional player, Frances Pushkas, joined Real Madrid and became a Kopa teammate. Kopa played for Real Madrid as an attacking midfielder on the right and wore the number 10 shirt.

An important fact about Raymond Kopa is that his presence at Real Madrid was very successful and helpful because he helped the club to three consecutive European Cup victories. He had a very influential and important role in the team of the Spanish capital.

Kopa won the Spanish League or La Liga by playing against powerful Spanish teams. Kopa was the first French player to win the Champions League with Real Madrid, when Real Madrid defeated

Fiorentina

of Italy 2-0 in the 1957 final.

Reims

After three seasons with the powerful Real Madrid team, Kopa returned to his former club in the French Football League with a lot of experience. In 1960 and 1962, Kopa won the French Football League.

The Reims team was Raymond Kopa's last destination. He said goodbye to the world of football in 1967 after many years of professional activity in La Liga and the French Football League.

Raymond Kopa international career

Raymond Kopa played 45 games nationally for the French national team known as the Roosters, scoring 18 goals. He was called up to the French national team in 1952.

An important

fact about Raymond Kopa

is that on October 5, 1952, he made his debut in the senior national team in a 3-1 win against

Germany

and celebrated an "excellent debut" in the centre forward position.

He scored 18 goals for national team; however, the number of assists he made was significantly greater. In six of the meetings, he was also captain of the Bleus.

At the World Championships in 1954 and 1958, he completed eight games in which he scored four goals. His greatest success with the national team was 3rd place at the World Cup in Sweden. There he was the best player of the tournament.

Between February 1956 and October 1959, he was missing in 18 international matches; This was due, on the one hand, to the fact that the French association usually did not take into account players playing abroad, and, on the other hand, to Real Madrid's refusal to approve it.

In mid-1960, he missed five more international matches due to an injury, including the finals at the first ever European Championship.

His outstanding performance in the six games of the 1958 World Cup also aroused admiration outside of France. Friedebert Becker, publisher of the German kicker, praised, for example, the "lively Kopa", one of the "best storm conductors", "unselfishly puts his arts in the service of the team" and "gets the whirlwind combinations of the French going."

Despite his “quick short passes” and “wonderful dribbles”, he said, he is not ashamed to “help out at the back” or “far withdrawn as a connector" to operate.

In addition, two games from 1955 are often counted among Kopa's best for the Équipe Tricolore, in which he directed particularly masterfully, the 1-0 against

England

on May 15, in which he also scored the goal of the day, and the 2-1 victory in Spain on March 17th in front of 125,000 spectators, also with a goal and the preparatory work for the winning goal, after which he was carried off the shoulders of enthusiastic French and Spanish spectators and he was named "Napoléon of football”.

He himself said about this encounter, "Whatever I tried in this game, I succeeded." Of his late internationals, the one against England on October 3, 1962 in Sheffield, applies (Final score 1: 1) as particularly outstanding; the Daily Express wrote about it, "Ray Kopa walked off the Hillsborough lawn in the flash of the photographers and to the applause of the 36,000 spectators."

Kopa was one of the most effective and influential attacking midfielders in the French national team, who helped his team a lot. After saying goodbye to the national team, the French national team thanked him for his efforts. These were all facts about Raymond Kopa in the French national team.

Raymond Kopa after playing football

As early as 1954, Kopa began marketing his name for products, mainly sporting goods and casual wear. Around 1960 he ran a newsagents and tobacco shop and became a co-owner of a hotel in Reims.

Later he created his own brand for sporting goods and brought several of his former teammates as employees into this Groupe Kopa, under whose roof a number of factories and retail stores were united. He took care of product development and financing, and regularly visited the factories and shops personally - "with the same seriousness, the same standards and perfectionism as during my career".

A notable fact about Raymond Kopa is that at the end of 1968 Albert Batteux persuaded him to run for the Federal Council of the French Football Association. Kopa was elected, but resigned from this position in July 1969 after his and Michel Hidalgo's attempt to bring Batteux back as national coach failed. In addition, he was not made for committee work, "I love football - if I can play it".

He accompanied the World Championships in 1978, 1982 and 1986 as a commentator for France Inter and Radio Monte Carlo. In 1985 he, who had kept himself fit by playing tennis for many years, took part in the Paris-Dakar rally as a co-driver of Étienne Smulovici (65th place in the overall standings), giving him new, personally important impressions.

On the occasion of his death, France Football dedicated eight-page homage to Raymond Kopa, “one of the greatest French football players of all time”. Real Madrid haven't forgotten him either. Club representatives presented Kopa's widow with a replica at the 2017 Ballon d'Or award ceremony, the jersey he wore there 60 years ago.

His funeral took place on March 8, 2017 at the Saint-Maurice d'Angers cathedral in the presence of more than a thousand people including his former teammate Just Fontaine, the president of Real Madrid

Florentino Pérez

, the president of the French Football Federation (FFF), Noël Le Graët and the minister des Sports Patrick Kanner.

Raymond Kopa honours

During his career, Raymond Kopa played for various clubs such as Angres, Reims and Real Madrid. With these teams, he won various personal and team honours and created a collection of honours for himself. Surely Raymond Kopa's honours have made him one of the top football players in the world.

Kopa started his career in the Angres team but could not win an honour with this team. He then joined the Reims and played for the team for five seasons. He won the French Football League with Reims in 1952 and 1954. He also won the Latin Cup in 1953 with the team. After winning numerous honours with Reims, he went to La Liga and played for Real Madrid.

Undoubtedly, the peak of Raymond Kopa's honours were in the Real Madrid team, where he won the La Liga title with the team in 1975 and 1976. Raymond Kopa's most important honour with Real Madrid was winning the Champions League.

An important fact about Raymond Kopa is that he was able to win the Champions League with the great players of Real Madrid for three consecutive seasons and in 1957, 1958, 1959. He also won the Latin Cup for the second time with another team in 1957. Raymond Kopa spent some dream years at Real Madrid and he added a variety of honours to his showcase of honours with Real Madrid team.

Kopa re-joined the Reims and played for the team for many years, winning the French Football League in 1960 and 1961. He also won the Latin Cup again with Reims in 1965.

Raymond Kopa, despite playing an influential role in the French national team, failed to achieve a variety of international honours. With the French national team, he finished third at the 1958 World Cup. This was Raymond Kopa's highest international honour.

In addition to team honours, Kopa has won a variety of individual honours during his career: winner of the Golden Ball in 1958, placement in the star team of the 1958 World Cup French Player of the Year (1961) and winner of the Golden Foot Award as a Football Legend (2006).

Raymond Kopa style of play

In order to perform well, Raymond Kopa gave everything for his passion, football. He worked a lot in training, especially on his dribbling.

When he was in junior age, he played games with players much older than him, which made him progress quickly. Arrived in Angers in 1949, alone and isolated from his family, he fought in training to have his place in the team.

At the start of his career, Raymond Kopa kept the ball a lot and dribbled very often. He had great skill on the ball despite the heaviness of the leather balls.

After the first meeting of Kopa in the Reims jersey, the press described him as, "The man is skilful, dribbles short, shoots fair and strong with both feet, has good concentration, a correct heading, knows how to be clairvoyant and plays with his teammates."

A notable fact about Raymond Kopa is that despite his good vision of the game and the precision of his passes and crosses, he sometimes forgot to give the ball to his teammates. He was criticized for slowing down the game. His main qualities, however, remained his dribbling, his playing intelligence and his versatility.

With the arrival at the Stade de Reims of Léon Glovacki in 1952, Bram Appel moved to the right side of the attack and left his place in the centre to Kopa. Raymond Kopa was not a classic centre forward, he did not dispute the balls with the head to the defenders and played behind to have a distance with the defenders, to gain speed and to dribble his opponents.

It also allowed him to avoid contact; he remained the team's playmaker. Players were looking for Kopa's dribble and the team wanted to play on the side where he was mostly present.

Small and fast, Raymond Kopa was nicknamed Kopita by Madrid supporters, which meant little Kopa. In Madrid, where he was not the playmaker, Alfredo Di Stéfano controlled the game and thus, Raymond Kopa touched the ball fewer times. He nevertheless made passes to the centre forward and regularly delivered goals. He sometimes played as a central striker.

Raymond Kopa was a smart and creative attacking midfielder. He had a great ability to move the ball. The Kopa also had a lot of speed and technique. He was an intelligent player who knew scoring opportunities well and scored with great skill.

In addition to being a successful goal scorer, Raymond Kopa was a professional playmaker and created many scoring opportunities.

The most important feature of Raymond Kopa's style of play was his dribble ability. The Kopa could dribble many players individually. These qualities made him a professional and first-class footballer.

Raymond Kopa also scored himself and was one of the top scorers in the history of the France team. After the World Cup match against Yugoslavia, he was criticized and described as “too small, too playful, too selfish”.

Raymond Kopa in popular culture

First French Ballon d'Or winner, Raymond Kopa, was one of the leading sports celebrities of the 1950s. Present in the media, in 1955 he received the trophy for the most elegant sportsman of the year from the hands of actress Jeanne Moreau. An important fact about Raymond Kopa is that his transfer to Real Madrid took him to another level of recognition.

In 1962, he became the first football player to have his wax statue at the Musée Grévin. In 1999, Norwich Union launched a television spot directed by Bertrand Christophe with Raymond Kopa, designed by the Passion Company agency.

An important fact about is that he was promoted to the rank of officer of the Legion of Honor on Monday March 17, 2008 at the Elysée Palace.

In the French film OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies by Michel Hazanavicius, released in 2005, the director makes a reference to Raymond Kopa. In the last scene, we see OSS 117, played by Jean Dujardin, read Le Parisien libéré and a close-up is made on the title, "Raymond Kopa leaves FC Reims" and in the subtitle we read, "He joined Real de Madrid”.

Raymond Kopa body measurements

Regarding

Raymond Kopa's body measurements

, it should be mentioned that he was 168 cm or 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 56 kg. Raymond Kopa's physical features were directly related to his style of play.

Raymond Kopa social media

Regarding

Raymond Kopa's social media

, it should be mentioned that he was not active on social media such as Instagram and Twitter. However, there are posts on Instagram about the player's name.

Raymond Kopa net worth and salary

Raymond Kopa's net worth

was about $ 1 million to $ 3 million. According to Transfer Market statistics, there is no clear information on Raymond Kopa transfers and contracts.

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source: SportMob