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1983 Ballon d’Or Winner: Michel Platini – A Superstar Is Born

Oddly, despite the fact that future seasons would hold greater success in terms of honours and individual statistics, Michel Platini‘s first Ballon d’Or win in 1983 was actually his most emphatic.

It marked the Frenchman’s biggest margin of victory with an overall gap of 84 points. Platini registered 110 points with Scotland and Liverpool’s Kenny Dalglish finished in second place with a total of just 26.

1983 proved to be the year that Michel Platini transformed from a promising prodigy and into a true talent revered across Europe.

The Italian Debut

During the 1981/82 season, Platini had shown more than glimpses of his potential at French club Saint-Etienne. He was deployed as an attacking midfielder, playing in the number ten role, able to create from central areas and score goals.

Platini found the net a remarkable 27 times across 46 games in all competitions. But unfortunately, his side missed out on the Division One title and also finished runners-up in the Coupe de France.

It was time for a change. And so in 1982, Platini moved from Saint-Etienne to Italian giants Juventus for a mere £100,000.

At the dawn of the 1982/83 campaign, Platini inherited the number ten shirt following the departure of Liam Brady. His new team featured several members of Italy’s victorious 1982 World Cup squad.

Platini faced a challenging introduction to Italian football. He was becoming a victim at the jaws of a demanding Italian sports media and even came close to leaving Italy in the winter of 1982.

Yet Platini and teammate Zbigniew Boniek succeeded in persuading manager Giovanni Trapattoni to change tactics and from Christmas onwards, Juventus would kick into gear!

The Frenchman began to flourish. Not only did he continue to showcase typical creativity, passing range and vision but now his clinical, classy and ruthless goal-scoring were all being catered for.

Platini scored 28 goals across 48 appearances in what would prove his best tally in a Juventus shirt. Yet despite his extraordinary efforts, the Frenchman missed out on the Scudetto, with Juventus finishing in a disappointing sixth place.

The ‘Old Lady’ also reached the 1983 European Cup final, sadly losing out to Hamburger SV, however, they did manage to secure the Italian Cup as a consolation prize.

Second Season Success

For many players, their second season at a club can be a difficult one but for Platini, it proved to be his making, with a host of plaudits and honours to quickly follow.

However, a huge factor in his landslide Ballon d’Or victory was the indifferent performance levels of second-placed main rival Kenny Dalglish.

In 1982/83, the Liverpool forward enjoyed a Division One and League Cup double at Anfield, scoring 20 goals in 58 games, perfectly positioning him to claim Europe’s highest individual accolade.

But the Scot finished 1983 lethargically, finding the net just seven times from the start of the 1983/84 season up until Christmas, ending the campaign with just twelve.

Luckily for Liverpool, they would be largely unaffected by Dalglish’s lack of form – still winning a trophy treble including Division One, League Cup and European Cup by the close of 1983/84.

Platini ended that same campaign by winning both Serie A and Cup Winners Cup.

Dalglish’s poor end to the calendar year likely festered in the minds of voters. In comparison, Platini impressed by scoring 14 goals from August to the end of 1983.

In truth, his eye-catching numbers would ultimately secure his Ballon d’Or triumph.

1983 Ballon d’Or Top 20

Rank Name Club(s) Nationality Points
1 Michel Platini Juventus France 110
2 Kenny Dalglish Liverpool Scotland 26
3 Allan Simonsen Vejle Denmark 25
4 Gordon Strachan Aberdeen Scotland 24
5 Felix Magath Hamburger SV West Germany 20
6 Jean-Marie Pfaff Bayern Munich Belgium 15
Rinat Dasayev Spartak Moscow Soviet Union 15
8 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge Bayern Munich West Germany 14
Jesper Olsen Ajax Denmark 14
10 Bryan Robson Manchester United England 13
11 Fernando Gomes Porto Portugal 10
Bernd Schuster Barcelona West Germany 10
Franky Vercauteren Anderlecht Belgium 10
Alain Giresse Bordeaux France 10
15 Safet Sušić Paris Saint-Germain Yugoslavia 8
Ian Rush Liverpool Wales 8
17 Morten Olsen Anderlecht Denmark 6
18 Norman Whiteside Manchester United Northern Ireland 5
19 Bruno Conti Roma Italy 4
Eric Gerets Milan Belgium 4
Erwin Vandenbergh Anderlecht Belgium 4
Michael Laudrup Lazio Denmark 4


Michel Platini was Serie A’s top scorer for three seasons in a row and all in a Ballon d’Or winning year – 1982/83, 1983/84 and 1984/1985.

Despite playing with Liverpool for seven more seasons, their 1982/83 campaign would be the last time Kenny Dalglish hit 20 or more goals in all competitions.

Allan Simonsen’s third-place finish in the Ballon d’Or was largely achieved because of the Danish striker’s four goals during the 1984 European Championship qualifying matches – having won no major honours during the calendar year of 1983.

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