While Kylian Mbappé became the top scorer in the history of Paris SG on Saturday evening, another great striker was honored in Reims the next day: Just Fontaine who died four days earlier. The man with thirteen goals in a World Cup (in 1958), an unequaled record, spent most of his career at the Stade de Reims. “Just Fontaine marked the history of football forever, insisted Jean-Pierre Caillot, the president of the Marnais club, during the tribute ceremony organized before the meeting against Ajaccio. If we have the prize list and the history that many clubs envy us, it is thanks to Just and the illustrious former members of the club. »
Stronghold of European football in the 1950s, Reims also had in its ranks a certain Raymond Kopa, who died in 2017. With Just Fontaine, they won two French championship titles and played in the 1958 World Cup, at the end of which the Blues had finished third.
“Just has always been incredibly benevolent and humble, always ready to give a good word or a wink,” continued Jean-Pierre Caillot. Some remember that the Stade de Reims match which followed the death of Raymond Kopa was against Ajaccio. Six years later, almost to the day, I want to see in this symbol anything but a coincidence and I think Just wanted to give us a last wink. »
Created in 48 hours
A few steps from the bronze statue of Raymond Kopa, erected in 2018, now stands the portrait of Just Fontaine, produced by Rémois Arno Kusek, in his characteristic style, in stencil. The street artist, who was part of the Reims delegation to Ukraine in February, had to work urgently. “The club contacted me on Wednesday afternoon. I spent the night on it, he says. The next day, I was up at 5 a.m. to cut out and vectorize the portrait in an XXL version. Finally, graphic designer Christine Sejean did the lettering. Normally, it would have taken me 15 days, now I had 48 hours. »
A result appreciated by the club, but also by the two grandsons of Just Fontaine, who came from Toulouse for the occasion. “It’s fantastic to have him honored like this,” said Kellian, 21. He adored the city of Reims and the city adored him. He would have liked to play there longer, but his injury prevented him from doing so. At least he will have finished his career at the Stade de Reims. Sixty-one years later, his memory is now engraved in the Auguste-Delaune stadium.