Michel Platini is Number 8 in 90min's Top 50 Greatest Footballer of All Time Series
To many reading this article, Michel Platini is little more than a disgraced former UEFA president who, along with his partner-in-crime Sepp Blatter, was rightfully ousted from the sport in 2015.
From now until the end of time (which, judging by how 2020 has started, is probably quite soon) he'll be remembered as little more than that: a disgraced football politician.
And it is probably how he deserves to be remembered.
Platini deserves to be remembered as Le Roi Déchu (the fallen king) of a footballing empire built on bribes, bungs and a bad film called 'Untitled Passions' - which FIFA spent £30m on...yes, really.
But as the 'Corruption' section continues to preponderate his Wikipedia page, we as football fans are sadly becoming evermore deprived of the memory of Michel Platini, the footballer.
Michel Platini, the footballer, who won three consecutive Ballons d'Or.
Michel Platini, the footballer, who was the best footballer to ever play for Juventus.
Michel Platini, the footballer, who was the greatest goalscoring midfielder of all time.
And that's a real shame for us, you know, the football fans. As we are being deprived of one of the most exciting footballers to ever play the game, and all because said player turned into the footballing equivalent of Napoleon in his later years.
It's all very annoying.
So, for us - not Platini - let's take a trip down memory lane.
Let's go back to the mid-80s. And in order to do so, stick on some neon spandex and leg warmers, load up the Ghostbusters theme tune and plug in your keytar.
We're now in 1984 - mullets are socially acceptable (encouraged even), it's ok to think that Eddie Van Halen is cool, and Michel Platini is not yet Le Roi Déchu of UEFA, but the best goddam footballer on planet earth.
And that's not even an exaggeration, because in 1984 the Juventus number 10 put in the single greatest tournament performance of all time at that summer's European Championships.
And no, that's not even an exaggeration either.
Then nicknamed Le Roi (the king) by the French media, Platini went into Euro '84 as the best player on the planet, and came out of it 15 days later as one of the greatest of all time.
In those 15 days Platini - who, don't forget, was a midfielder - scored NINE GOALS in FIVE GAMES to drag Les Bleus to their first ever international trophy.
Yes, you read that right, he really did score NINE GOALS in FIVE GAMES; that's the same amount of goals Cristiano Ronaldo has scored at European Championships...only it took CR7 21 games to do so.
The nine goal haul at Euro '84 was the perfect exemplification of what made Platini so damn exceptional.
“He was playing teams on his own. He was out of this world, a superstar. No team was able to contain him.”
His first of the tournament came in France's first game of the tournament (yes he scored in all five games - of course he did), against a highly-fancied Denmark side led by the mercurial talents of Michael Laudrup and Allan Simonsen. Platini's deflected - very, very, very deflected - strike would prove to a crucial one, as France ran out narrow 1-0 winners to kickstart their campaign and ease some host nation nerves.
Platini bagged his second, third and fourth goals in a hugely impressive 5-0 thumping of Belgium in the following game; a team who would, just two years later, make the World Cup semi finals. The number 10's first hat trick (yes there was more than one hat trick - of course there was) of the tournament included a thunderous left-footed strike from the edge of the box, a composed right-footed penalty kick and a fairly extraordinary header.
A perfect hat trick from the perfect footballer...which would be followed up by another perfect hat trick just three days later.
That's right: TWO PERFECT HAT TRICKS.
This time Platini's three goals wouldn't be supplemented by two from teammates, as his side fended off Yugoslavia in a 3-2 thriller. This time, a right-footed penalty would be upgraded to a delightful right-footed free kick from 20-yards out. And this time, the header would be upgraded to arguably the best diving header of all time.
In just three group games, Platini had already scored seven goals at the tournament. And although the midfielder would only score two more, they would prove to be the two most important goals of his career.
In the semi finals they would face off against Portugal. It was Les Bleus' most difficult test yet but one which they would pass thanks to a 119th minute winner from their star man.
“Against Portugal [in the semi-finals] we should have been leading 2-0 or 3-0, but they made it 1-1 and then 2-1. We got into the last seven minutes of extra time and we had tremendous will to win; especially as Jean Tigana told us he had never won a penalty shoot-out! We knew we had to avoid going to penalties!
“Tigana was the one who crossed the ball from the right at the end of the match. I was the one in the centre who hit the ball into the net."
After their dramatic late win over Portugal, Platini and France would face Spain in the final at Parc des Princes. And yes it was another hugely difficult, hugely important, game in which Platini would star.
"The final was even more difficult because Spain played very well. Then we had that chance from the free-kick and [Luis] Arconada made a small mistake. For once it wasn't against us."
That 'small mistake' (which is generous - it was a howler) allowed Platini to score the first goal in a 2-0 win for Les Bleus in the final.
His ninth and final goal, and the subsequent lifting of the Henri Delaunay Trophy, would be the perfect cadence to an utterly perfect 15-day long performance from Platini.
Whatever rating system you want to use, Platini maxed it out at Euro '84.
In those 15 days, when it mattered the most, Le Roi scored every single important goal and scored them all in - usually - the most beautiful way possible.
And while Platini may no longer deserve to be remembered as Le Roi.
While Platini may be Le Roi Déchu of a disgraced footballing empire.
While Platini may represent everything wrong with the modern game.
Every now and then, it's nice to look past all of the corruption, lies and immorality for just a second, and remember that once upon a time Michel Platini, the footballer, represented everything good about the beautiful game.
And during that one hot summer in the 80s, he played that beautiful game better than anyone ever has.
"No one can repeat what Platini did."
90min's 'Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time' can be found here.