Raymond Kopa
13.10.1931 - 03.03.2017
Nickname: Football Napoleon
Nationality: France
Stature: 169 см
Position: forward

1949 - 1951France FranceAngers6015
1951 - 1956France FranceStade de Reims15848
1956 - 1959Spain SpainReal Madrid7924
1959 - 1964France FranceStade de Reims24436
All:Gols in match: 0.23541123
Years performancesNational teamGamesGols
1952 - 1962France France4518
All:Gols in match: 0.44518

French fans who consider Raymond Kop to be one of the best forwards in the history of world football do not like to remember that he was a Pole by birth, although he was born in the French town of Neue les Mines in northern France. He was born and grew up under the name Roman Kopashevsky. His father, a Polish miner, emigrated to the industrial north of France in the late 1920s in search of a better life. Raymond Kopa was born in the village of Noe-Lee-Mine (Novoshakhtinsk). Born in 1931, the future soccer player was initially not called Raymond, but Roman. However, for school buddies, he immediately became in the French manner Kopa, and the name Roman turned into Raymond. Long family names in France were not in vogue. So it happened.


With the difficult profession of a miner, Roman got acquainted as early as adolescence. The father, preparing his son for a miner's profession, took the boy in the mine, gives him with a low-skilled work. Mastering a hard craft, Roman almost became disabled - at the age of fourteen he has injury by trolley that came down from the rails. Younger Kopashevsky happened relatively easily at the expense of the loss of two phalanges on the index finger of his left hand. He told his father that he would not enter the mine in any way. Moreover, then he began to associate high hopes with football.

Now all my free time was football. Raymond was lucky. The Kopashevsky family lived next to the stadium of the city club of the same name, and the school physical education teacher was preparing the curriculum with a noticeable bias towards football. At the club there was a children's football school, which did not stop working even during the years of the fascist occupation.

I always played with the guys from the next age group. In the junior team, I represented Noah-le-Min in the third French division. The chief engineer of the mine where I worked was the director of the club, but he did not contribute to the development of my football career.


At the age of 11, Roman was accepted into the children's team, from wich, having passed all the age steps, at the age of 17, became one of the main players. It was the team called US “Noe Le Mine” that was the starting point in the Kopa career of football. Despite all the objective obstacles, in 1949, Kopa ranked second in the Republican Youth Tournament.

I then thought that the leading clubs of the north of France - Lille, Lance, Valenciennes or Roubet will be seriously interested in me. I was very upset when I received only one offer from Angers, the second division club.

A year later, the first professional contract was signed with the club "Angers". In the “Angers” Kopa successfully played the position of the right winger. With a small height, he was distinguished by high speed, sharpness in his movements, and he loved to play with defenders in a stroke, literally dismantling them with his endless feints. It might even seem that he was too keen on an individual game, but after a series of tricks followed an unexpected and very accurate pass to a partner who had time to take a favorable position. At the same time, Kopa did not score very much, but he brought a lot of benefit to his team. In addition, he was incredibly enduring and could run around the field without getting tired.

He played so successfully that in three years he became a player of “Reims” - one of the strongest clubs of France at that time. The transfer amount was 1.2 million francs (at that time - 1300 British pounds). Twenty-year-old Kopa, whose salary jumped more than 12 times, immediately began to justify the money invested in it and make the public happy with amazing dribbling. Wise mentor Albert Butte quickly enlightened that Kop's optimal position was a creative forward. In a short time, Kopa became the leading player in the club, the youth team, and soon the national team of France (debut on October 5, 1952 in the match with the German United team in Paris - 3:1, France's victory).

In 1953, "Reims" with the direct participation of Kopa became the champion of the country, in the final of the Latin Cup (the predecessor of the European Cup) "Reims" defeated "Milan" with a score of 3:0.

Soon, Milan made me an offer, but I wanted to play for the best club in the world - for Real Madrid.

A year later, Raymond, as part of the French team, went to his first world championship in Switzerland. For the French, he was unsuccessful. They played only 2 matches, defeating the Mexicans, losing to the Yugoslavs, and at the same time ended the fight. In fact, no one expected surprises from the French team at that time. The undisputed favorite was the Hungarian national team with its brilliant players Hidegkuti, Puskas, Kochish, goalkeeper Grošić. This is the team that made a surprise, in the final, suddenly losing to the German team, which for the first time became the world champion.

But "Reims" soon achieved great success. In 1955, "Reims" - again the champion of France, in 1956, the Kopa Club reached the finals of the first Champions Cup, where "Reims" in the "Park of Princes", leading 2-0 along the way, lost in a dramatic fight to Madrid "Real" - 3: 4. But the defeat of "Reims" was very honorable, as "Real" had already bought the best players, where only he could, and was, in fact, the national team of the world, where the Argentine star Alfredo di Stefano stood out. For Kopa himself, the result of the final match turned out to be completely unexpected - the president of "Real" Santiago Bernabéu, after seeing Kop in the game, offered the Frenchman to join his club. The amount of the contract was very impressive. So Raymond Kopa was in Madrid in the summer of 1956, where he spent three seasons.

The following year, he won the European Cup - now in the composition of Real Madrid, which won it for the second time in a row. He won the third time, and then the fourth. And in the 1959 final, Copa played in Real Madrid against his own Reims. Twice, along with the "Real" Kopa, became the champion of Spain. Madrid viewers loved him, he was highly appreciated by the club president Santiago Bernabeu. Still, the years spent in "Real", Kopa estimated as not the best in his career. He was accustomed to be a football soloist, and in the Madrid club he had to play not at his usual place, but to play along with the attacker from the depth of field. In the same year of 1959, Kopa decided to return to Reims. "Golden Ball" in 1958 from "France Football" to the best footballer in Europe, Raymond Kopa, received absolutely the right.

He already had the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, where the French team achieved great success, winning third place. The French showed a brilliant, bright, very productive game. Paraguay's national team, for example, was defeated in a group tournament with a score of 7: 3. In the quarterfinals scored four “dry” ball team of Northern Ireland. In the semifinal match, however, the future champions of the world were stronger - the Brazilians, who won with a score of 5: 2. Three goals scored against the French national team young Pele. But in the match for the third place, the French were once again over-productive - the match with the FRG team ended with the score 6: 3. The soul of the French attack was Raymond Kopa. He was a brilliant couple with the player of the same "Reims" Just Just Fontaine, who became the top scorer of the championship, scoring 13 goals. Fontaine surpassed the achievement of Hungarian Sandor Kocsis, who scored 11 goals in the 1954 championship. The record of the French striker has not yet been beaten - only once did the German Gerd Muller approach him, who scored 10 goals in the Mexican championship in 1970.

Raymond Kopa 1959
Three legends of "Real": Kopa, di Stefano, Puskas (1959)
Raymond Kopa 1958
Copa with a "Golden ball"

And soon his partnership with Fontane resumed, when in 1959 Raymond returned home from the Pyrenees. With his unrivaled duet forwards, "Reims" twice more became the champion of France. Unfortunately, the second time without Fontaine. Having received a severe injury in 1961 — a double leg fracture — the talented footballer, who was only twenty-eight years old, was forced to retire.


Prematurely completed a football career and Kopa. After a broken leg, he underwent two complex operations. November 11, 1962, he spent his last 45th match (18 goals) in the French team against Hungary in Paris (2:3).

Raymond Kopa 1962
Last time in the form of the French team (1962)

In 1963, he was invited to the world team that held the match with the UK team, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of British football. Together with Kopa, Puskás, Eusebio, di Stefano entered the football stars team, and Lev Yashin defended the gate. Raymond Kopa played his last match in Reims in 1964. By this time he already had his own business - a juice factory.

In 1968, Kopa joined the Board of Directors of Reims, a year later became a member of the Federal Council of the French Football Federation. And suddenly, in the fall of 1970, a sensational message appeared: "Kopa is returning to football!" This was due to the fact that returning to the elite of French football, "Reims" was not enough to the norm of the composition of one player. But waiting for new deeds from a player who went to the fortieth year, it was at least naive. His short-term return was limited to several exits on the field. But in the same year, he became the first French footballer to be awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor.

In the early 1970s, Kopa was elected honorary president of the club "Angers", in 1972, Raymond Kop’s book "My Football" was published. He showed his abilities quite successfully in the TV commentary, played in matches of veterans of French football. November 16, 1985 Kopa entered the field as part of the French national team veterans in the match, which was before the World Cup qualifying match with Yugoslavia.

The 1998 World Cup Kopa watched from the box of honored guests. He represented the national post office - one of the official partners of the World Championship organizing committee. He was extremely happy with the victory of the "tricolors", but did not get tired to say that if he and Fontaine had lost 40 years, they would not spoil the game of the current French team ...

Raymond Kopa 2011
Michel Platini presented Kopa with UEFA President Award (2011)
Perhaps today, too much money has been made in football. I do not want to seem old-fashioned, but today football depends on television, which is not always good. Nowadays, after the end of a career, footballers have a lot easier than it used to be in previous times. As for myself, hanging boots on the nail, I launched a sports brand of clothing. In 1991, I finally retired, stayed in Corsica and spent a lot of time in my garden.

At the 86th year of his life, he died.

Based on:,,,

Award nameYearAmount
1 Bronze ball 1956, 1957 2
2 Gold ball 1958 1
3 Silver ball 1959 1

Club "Reims"
Award nameYearAmount
1 French League 1953, 1955, 1960, 1962 4
2 Latin Cup 1953 1

Club "Real Madrid"
Award nameYearAmount
3 Spanish League 1956/57, 1957/58 2
4 European Cup 1956/57-1958/59 3
5 Latin Cup 1957 1