Sunday, November 13, 2016

Saint-Étienne Greatest All-Time Team

League Champion 1980-1981

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

Saint-Étienne is, arguably, the most successful club in French football history having won ten Ligue 1 titles, six Coupe de France titles, a Coupe de la Ligue title and five Trophée des Champions (the French Super Cup). The club's ten league titles are the most professional league titles won by a French club, while the six cup victories places the club third among most Coupe de France titles. Saint-Étienne has also won the second division championship on three occasions. The club achieved most of its honours in the 1960s and 1970s when the club was led by managers Jean Snella, Albert Batteux, and Robert Herbin. 

GK: Ivan Curkovic (Yugoslavia)
Curkovic played as a goalkeeper for Velež Mostar, Partizan and Saint-Étienne. Ćurković was a goalie of outstanding quality who played for AS Saint-Étienne during the 1970s and early 1980s and was instrumental in the successful runs of Saint-Étienne's football club to the top of the French League and to the finals of the European Cup in the 1975–76 season. He played alongside French legend Michel Platini from 1978 to 1981.  Capped 19 times for Yugoslavia.
Oswaldo Piazza Dominique Rocheteau and Ivan Curkovic

GK: Jean Castaneda (France)
Castaneda began his professional career with AS Saint-Etienne in 1975. He also played for the France national football team. He earned nine caps in 1981–82 and was part of the French squad for the 1982 FIFA World Cup (Castaneda played one match against Poland). In 1989 he joined the Olympique Marseille and retired in 1990. Castaneda also coached FC Istres and US Marseille Endoume.  Capped 9 times.

GK: Claude Abbes (France)
He played the majority of his professional career for local club AS Saint-Étienne, where he won the 1957 Première division championship, the first title ever for the club. He was also part of the French national team squads at the World Cup finals of 1954 and 1958, and played four matches at the latter, where France finished in third place.

CB/RB: Gérard Janvion (France)
Gerard Janvion started his career in Martinique with the local side CS Case-Pilote.  He played for Saint-Etienne between 1972 and 1983. He played with Michel Platini over there in the 1970's.  The team was considered one of the best French club sides in history. He later played for PSG before retiring from football. He capped 40 times. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1978 and 1982.
Gérard Janvion
RB: Guy Huguet (France)
Started his career as an attacker.  He was a pioneer as an offensive-minded wingback. He was a legend at St Etienne from 1942 to 1952 and he continued his career in Nice from 1952 to 1955 with no less than 12 caps for France.

CB: Christian Lopez (France)
Christian Lopez was a member of Michel Platini's Saint Etiene that dominated French football in the 1970's. Liked his club mate Gerard Janvion, he went to the World Cup Finals in 1978 and 1982.  He had 39 caps. Lopez was born in French Algeria of Spanish-French background. He also played for Toulouse FC.

CB: Oswaldo Piazza (Argentina)
Piazza started with Lanus.  He moved to St. Etienne in 1972.  He was very popular at this time, and Bernard Sauvat wrote a song dedicated to him. Piazza earned 15 caps for Argentina, but could not participate to 1978 FIFA World Cup in his country due to family problems even though César Luis Menotti wanted him in the squad. In 1979, he played for Club Atlético Vélez Sársfield, before coming back to France with AS Corbeil-Essonnes, as player-coach

CB: Alain Merchadier (France)
He stared his career with Toulouse. He spent most of his career as a right-back to AS Saint-Etienne with whom he won three championships in France in 1974 , 1975 and 1976 and two cups of France in 1974 and 1977.  Capped 5 times.

CB/RB: Bernard Bosquier (France) 
Bernard Bosquier was French Player of the Year in 1967 and 1968.  He starred for FC Sochaux-Montbeliard, Saint Etienne and Olympique de Marseille.  He was the best defender in France during his prime. He surprisingly left Forez for Olympique Marseille along with goalkeeper Georges Carnus in 1971 winning the "double" with Olympique Marseille in his first season. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1966.

CB:  Laurent Blanc(France)
Nicknamed  "Le Président" for leadership skills.  He was a member of the French team that won the WC 1998 at home and Euro 2000 in Belgium and Holland.  He played for Montpellier, Napoli, Barcelona, Marseille, Internazionale and Manchester United.
Blanc vs Marseille

LB: Gérard Farison (France)
Farison spent his entire career with St. Etienne. He won with this five league titles in France in 1968 , 1970 , 1974 , 1975 and 1976 and three cups in 1974 , 1975 and 1977.  Capped once.

DM: Robert Herbin (France)
Herbin joined St.Etienne in 1957.  He was a cornerstone of the first generation of the great AS Saint-Étienne winning side which clinched four titles in a row, from 1967 to 1970. He became important for France, fourth at Euro 1960, and a member of the FIFA World Cup 1966 squad in England. 

DM: Jacques Santini (France)
Robert Herbin
CM: Rene Domingo (France)
Born in France of Spanish origin, he played his entire career with St Etienne from 1949 to 1964.  He played 537 games, including 424 times as the captain.  Capped once in 1957.

CM: Ignace Tax (Austria/France)
Tax started his career with SC Wacker Vienna and then, First Vienna.  He played with Servette Geneva between 1931 and 1935 and joined AS Saint-Etienne in 1935.  He became a naturalized French after the Anschluss in March 1938.  During the War, he was a POW.  Contrary to popular brief, he never played for the Wunderteam.

RM: Antoine Cuissard (France)
His grandmother was the founder for FC Lorient, where he was a member of the youth team.  After the war, he started his career with St. Etienne, but returned to Lorient in 1946 help it to regain its former glory.  Cuissard began one of the first Lorient players to maintain a place in the France national team while playing with the club. In 1947, he returned to St. Etienne and stayed there until 1952.  He also played with  Cannes, Nice and Rennes.  Capped 27 times.

RW/FW: Johnny Rep (Holland)
Rep was a part of Holland's Golden Generation in the 1970's.  He won three European Cup with Ajax and was a part of Holland's amazing team at the WC Finals in 1974.  He picked up 42 caps.
Johnny Rep with Platini(L)

RW: Dominique Rocheteau (France)
Dominique Rocheteau was a member of the Saint Etienne of the late 1970's, where they reached the 1976 European Cup Final before losing to Bayern Munich.  For the national team, he was a member of the Golden Generation in the 1980's that won the European Championship in 1984 and playing in the World Cup Finals in 1978, 1982 and 1986.  

AM/CM: Jean-Michel Larqué (France)
Larqué was one of the most important players for AS Saint-Étienne in the 60s and 70s where he won the league in in 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1975 and 1976. He finished his playing career in Paris with Paris Saint-Germain and RC Paris.  Capped 14 times.

AM: Kees Rijvers (Holland)
Rijvers was considered one of the best players in Oranje's hostory before the emerge of the Golden Generation of the 1970's. He started with NAC Breda before moving to play for St.Etienne in 1950. He would have three different stints with the French club.  he also played for Feyenoord.  from 1946 to 1960, he played 33 times for Holland.
Kees Rijvers 

AM: Michel Platini (France)
Michel Platini is one of the greatest footballers of all time.  He scored 9 of France's 14 goals as they won Euro 1984 at home.  It was probably the greatest individual performance in a tournament.  He won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1983, 1984 and 1985.  With Juventus, he won the European Cup in 1985, the first ever for the club.
Michel Platini 
ST: Yvan Beck(aka as Ivan Bek) (Yugoslavia/France)
Bek was born to a German father, and a Czech mother in the Serbian capital Belgrade borough of Čubura. At age of 16, started playing in BSK Belgrade. In 1928, Bek moved to Mačva, and soon proceeded to French FC Sète.  He moved to St Etienne in 1935. Capped 7 times for Yugoslavia. Bek helped Yugoslavia get Third place in the first FIFA world cup in Uruguay. He also played 5 times under the name Yvan Beck.

ST: Rachid Mekhloufi (France/Algeria)
He is the all-time leading scorer for Saint-Etienne.  He won 4 Ligue 1 titles with them in the 1960's.  Liked many French-Algerian of his generation, he was capped by France.  He later played for FLN Algeria national team and then, Algeria.
Rachid Mekhloufi 

ST:  Salif Keita (Mali) 
He was voted African Footballer of the Year in 1970.  He found stardom almost everywhere he played.  His best stints were with Saint-Étienne, Marseille, Valencia and Sporting Portugal.  He was selected by the Confederation of African Football as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 years.
Salif Keita 
ST: Patrick Revelli (France)
He played with his brother Herve Revelli, who was a legend at St Etienne.  He also played with Sochaux and Cannes.  Capped 5 times.

ST: René Alpsteg (France)
From 1944 to 1953, he played for St. Etienne.  He joined Racing Besançon in 1953.  Capped 12 times.

ST: Herve Revelli (France)
Revelli was considered one of the greatest player for St. Etienne.  He won 7 league titles with the club.  He tied for first for the a number of league titles as a player.  He also played for Nice, CS Chenois and Chareauroux.  Capped 30 times.

The Revelli brothers

Honorable Mention
Jérémie Janot, Vladimir Durkovic, Willy Sagnol, Pierre Repellini, Loïc Perrin, Aimé Jacquet, Julien Sablé, Jean-François Larios, Jean Snella, Christian Synaeghel, Dominique Bathenay, Roger Milla, Georges Bereta, Bafétimbi Gomis, Eugène N'Jo Léa, Jacques Zimako.

Squad Explanation
-- This team is among the oldest I have selected on my blog.  Most of the players came from the 1960's and 1970's.  Almost no one made the team and the honourable mention from the 1990's onward.
-- Vladimir Durkovic played for St. Etienne from 1967 and 1971.  He was one of the greatest keepers capped by Yugoslavia.  Ivan Durkovic joined St. Etienne in 1972.  Both made a name with the French club.  Vladimir was a much more famous keeper in Yugoslavia, but Ivan was widely considered to be greatest ever for St. Etienne.  
-- Jérémie Janot set a record of 1,534 minutes without letting in a goal at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.  The other keeper have done well with the club.
-- Willy Sagnol was very young when he left St. Etienne.  Pierre Repellini was a legendary rightback at the club, but I chose to take Gérard Janvion and Guy Huguet.
-- Jean-François Larios was not selected due to his relations with Platini.  
-- While Roger Milla was a star at St. Etienne, his name recognition came from the WC Finals in 1990.  
-- Jacques Zimako was selected to Honorable Mention for breaking the racial barrier as well as his performance.


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