Disappearance: François Remetter, dean of the French national team, is dead

The black and white photos do not always pay homage to his famous black goalkeeper jersey with a red stripe: this is how, in the 1950s, when he had crossed his sobriety and his elegance, we recognized François Remetter, whom the Strasbourg supporters called “Frantz” , and whose name will forever be linked to that of the “Heroes of Sweden”, third at the 1958 World Cup. François Remetter, who disappeared this Sunday at the age of 94, was the oldest French international, an accolade now attributed to another in 1958 falls to World Cup goalkeeper Dominique Colonna, born a few days after him.

Without gloves or a cap, he had been a reliable and valued goalkeeper, and when not as popular as René Vignal, his then-rival, daring and spectacular, he had managed to make seventeen straight-off appearances for the France team in 1954-54 play 1957, a rare achievement in such unstable times, sporting for the selection.

He was the last French survivor of the 1954 World Cup, which he had just played after Vignal broke his arm. Four years later he started the competition in Sweden as a starter after playing in D2 with Bordeaux all season but conceding goals against Paraguay (7-3) and Yugoslavia (2-3) meant he lost his had room in favor of Stéphanois Claude Abbes.

A modern goalkeeper, gifted on foot

He had earned a 26th and final selection for a charity match against Spain (4–3) in 1959, the day Roger Marche had scored his only goal in blue, but he could have played a third World Cup in 1962. if the French hadn’t failed in the play-offs against Bulgaria (0-1) at the San Siro, where, according to coach Georges Verriest, he was Pierre Bernard’s understudy.

His very long club career from 1948 to 1966 was not marked by trophies, with Strasbourg, Metz, Sochaux, Bordeaux, Limoges and Grenoble. He had been one of the first goalkeepers so gifted, even starting a game as a centre-forward, with Limoges at Nice, in D2, and was the subject of a record transfer for a goalkeeper, moving from Metz to Sochaux for 13m (old Francs) im Year 1954. But in 1957 he had threatened to give up football because of a salary difference with the ousted president of Sochaux, which forced him into poorly paid exile in Bordeaux.

There had been a second act in the life of François Remetter. At a time when it was the common destiny of the best French players to become agents at Adidas in their region of origin or to open a bar-tabac in their in-laws’ town, he entered the brand with the three stripes where he would twenty-seven years of work.

Responsible for one of the scandals of the time: covering the three shoe shine strips to protest against the amount of premiums granted by Adidas

He had notably met the young Sepp Blatter at the Adidas offices in Landersheim, on the outskirts of Strasbourg, where the future head of FIFA, who had already been introduced to Joao Havelange by Horst Dassler, saw his salary paid in part by Adidas France until 1981. François Remetter was the gear manufacturer’s representative with the Blues, at a time when the brand with the three stripes dictated that they should be very visible and very white on the shoes.

The former goalkeeper was directly responsible for one of the scandals of the time, in the middle of the 1978 World Cup, when most of the blues decided to cover up the three stripes of shoe polish to protest the size of the premiums given by adidas. Different times, different customs: the brand offered a bonus of 5,000 francs per player for the entire competition, and the players, led by Jean-Marc Guillou, had claimed 7,500 francs. François Remetter had refused, the FFF had forgotten to offer the difference when honoring the moral contract, and so the players of the French team were considered lucrative painters. François Remetter really was a life in blue.

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