Real Madrid legend Raymond Kopa passes away

French football legend Raymond Kopa, winner of three European Cups with Real Madrid (1957, 1958, 1959) and laureate of the best player of the year award in 1958, passed away at the age of 85 following a long illness

This file photo taken on January 7, 2017 shows former French football player Raymond Kopa (R) and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo during the handover ceremony of Ronaldo's fourth Ballon d'Or award.   -  AFP

Real Madrid star and the first French player to have won the Ballon d’Or award, Raymond Kopa has died at the age of 85.

Kopa was one of the stars of the Madrid team which dominated European football in the late 1950s. It was during this time that the attacking midfielder claimed the prestigious award in 1958 and won three European Cups.

Kopa, son of Polish immigrants, was born as Raymond Kopaszewski in north east France.

He started his football career with Angers, where he lived until his death, before moving on to Reims, where he would spend the rest of his playing life. During his career, he won four domestic French titles and was also a European Cup runner-up with Reims in 1956. He played 45 times for France between 1952 and 1962, scoring 18 goals and was one of the outstanding figures at the 1958 World Cup.

In Spain, he was part of the side that won two Primera Division titles.

In 1970, Kopa became the first footballer to have ever received, the Legion d’honneur, France’s highest civilian accolade.

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