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.
St Etienne won 4 straight league titles from 1964 to 1970

Team
GK: Ivan Curkovic (Yugoslavia)
Curkovic played as a goalkeeper for Velež Mostar, Partizan and Saint-Étienne. Ćurković 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)
Guy Huguet 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.  From 1948 to 1952, he had 12 caps for France. He made his debut against Scotland in 1948. His last match was against Sweden in 1952.

CB: Christian Lopez (France)
Christian Lopez was a member of Michel Platini's Saint Etienne 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)
Alain Merchadier started his career with Toulouse, where his father Jean was a player. 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.  He reached the Final o the 1976 European Cup. He was capped 5 times between 1973 and 1975.

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)
Laurent Blanc was nicknamed  "Le Président" for leadership skills.  He had over 90 caps. He was a key member of the French team that won the 1998 World Cup  at home and the 2000 European Championship in Belgium and Holland.  The team was known for its defence as well as its offence. For his club career, 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.  He was injured for trhe 1976 European Cup Final.  He was capped once in a friendly match against Poland.  He refused a second call-up in the same year against Denmark to concentrate on club football.

DM: Robert Herbin (France)
Known for his red hair, Robert 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 player for France. He had over 20 caps.  He played against Yugoslavia in the European Championship in 1960. He also played two matches at the 1966 World Cup in England. 

DM: Jacques Santini (France)
From 1968 to 1981, Jacques Santini played for St.Etienne in France, where it was the dominating team.  He won four Ligue 1 titles and appeared the Final of the 1976 European Cup. At the end of his career, he played for Montpellier between 1981 and 1983.  Then, he became the player-coach with CA Lisieux. He managed France between 2002 and 2004.

CM: Rene Domingo (France)
Born in France of Spanish origin, Rene Domingo played his entire career with St Etienne from 1949 to 1964.  He played 537 games, including 424 times as the captain.  He won the Coupe de France in 1962, presented by Charles De Gaulle himself.  He also won the league twice.  An injury forced him to retire in 1967. He was 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 was 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)
Johnny Rep had 42 caps for Holland.  He was a important player for 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 World Cup Finals in 1974. He also played for Bastia, Valencia, St.Etienne, FC Zwolle, Feyenoord and Haarlem.  With Basta, he reached the Final of the UEFA Cup in 1978. He played with Michel Platini at St Etienne.
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)
Jean-Michel 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 is the only member of the tam that was a part of 4 straight league team and also on the 1976 European Cup team.  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. He started with Nancy, but better known for his career with Saint-Étienne before switching to Juventus.
Michel Platini 
ST: Yvan Beck(aka as Ivan Bek) (Yugoslavia/France)
Bek was born to a German father, and a Czech mother in Belgrade borough. 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 World Cup in Uruguay. He also played 5 times under the name Yvan Beck.

ST: Rachid Mekhloufi (France/Algeria)
Rachid Mekhloufi 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 played 4 times for France.  He later played for FLN Algeria national team and then, Algeria after it gained independence. He was the co-manager of the Algeria national football team in the 1982 World Cup.
Rachid Mekhloufi 
ST:  Salif Keita (Mali) 
Salif Keita was voted African Footballer of the Year in 1970.  His best stints were with Saint-Étienne, Marseille, Valencia and Sporting Portugal.  In 1967, Keita left for France to join AS Saint-Étienne, where he won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, including the double in 1968 and 1970.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)
Patrick Revelli played with his brother Herve Revelli, who was a legend at St Etienne.  He won 5 league titles between 1969 and 1978.  He also played with Sochaux and Cannes. With Sochaux, he reached the Final of the UEFA Cup in 1980.  Capped 5 times between 1973 and 1977. He scored his only goal for France against Poland in 1976.

ST: René Alpsteg (France)
From 1944 to 1953, René Alpsteg played for St. Etienne.  His nickname was "Kiki".  He joined Racing Besançon in 1953.  He played two seasons for Racing Besancon at the end of his career. He was accused of accepting a bribe in the 1954-1955 season. Alpsteg was capped 12 times for France between 1947 and 1952. In 1951, he scored one of the goals against in a 2-2 draw against England, famous draw for the visitor.

ST: Herve Revelli (France)
Herve Revelli was considered one of the greatest player for St. Etienne.  His older brother Patrick played with him at the club.  He won 7 league titles with the club.  He tied for first for the a number of league titles as a player.  He is also the all-time leadig scorer for the club.  He also played for Nice, CS Chenois and Chareauroux.  He was capped 30 times, scoring 15 goals for France, but he never played in a major tournament.
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. Laurent Blanc is the only player from 1990's onward. He actually played when St. Etienne was one of the worst teams in Ligue 1.
-- 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.  
-- St. Etienne was very strong through the 1960's and 1970's. They won four straight Ligue 1 titles. Jean-Michel Larqué, Vladimir Durkovic and Robert Herbin all won 4 titles.
-- Jacques Santini won one of the four titles, but was also on the great teams of the 1970's. Rene Domingo was on the first title team and also won another one in 1957, the first ever title for the club.
-- Jean-Michel Larque won 4 straight titles and reached the 1976 Final of the European Cup.
-- The club's best result in Europe was reaching the 1976 European Cup Final.  I selected the following players from that team: Ivan Ćurković, Gérard Janvion, Jean-Michel Larqué, Gérard Farison, Christian Lopez, Osvaldo Piazza, Hervé Revelli, Alain Merchadier, Patrick Revelli and Dominique Rocheteau and Jacques Santini.
-- St Etienne tried to seek European glories with Michel Platini in 1980's. Some of the players from 1976 would play with Platini's team. Ivan Curkovic, Gérard Janvion, Jacques Santini, Dominique Rocheteau, and Christian Lopez also made with this team.  Johnny Rep and Jean Castaneda were also a part of the 1980's generation. That team was very strong, but was probably underachieved.
-- 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.

Formation



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