Papin Jean-Pierre

Jean-Pierre Papin is a former French professional football player, who played as a forward, and who was named the European Footballer of the Year in 1991. Papin achieved his greatest success while playing for Olympique Marseille between 1986 and 1992. He later played for A.C. Milan, FC Bayern Munich, Bordeaux, Guingamp, JS Saint-Pierroise and US Cap-Ferret. Papin also played 54 times for the French national team. After a short time as manager of French clubs, he joined the local amateur club AS Facture-Biganos Boïen as a player in 2009, aged 45. Papin was known for his goalscoring, striking ability, and volleys, which his fans nicknamed Papinades in his honour. In 1996, after their eight-month-old daughter Emily was shown to have serious cerebral lesions, Jean-Pierre and his wife, Florence, set up an association “Neuf de Coeur” (Nine of Hearts; Papin’s shirt number was 9) to help others in that situation and, particularly, to find and apply methods to mentally and physically educate such children. Although Papin played only 31 matches for Club Bruges, he was elected as its best foreign player by the supporters in April 2008. In a 17-year career in many of Europe’s biggest leagues, he scored nearly 350 goals in over 620 matches.

Papin Jean-Pierre


IFFHS “World Goalgetter 1991” Trophy


Olympique de Marseille


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The IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics) is an organization that chronicles the history and records of association football. It was founded on 27 March 1984 in Leipzig by Dr. Alfredo Pöge with the blessings of general secretary of the FIFA at the time, Dr. Helmut Käser. The IFFHS was based at Al-Muroor Street 147, Abu Dhabi for some time but, in 2010, relocated to Bonn, Germany. During its early stages, and until 2002, the IFFHS concentrated on publishing the quarterly magazines Fußball-Weltzeitschrift, Libero spezial deutsch and Libero international. When these had to be discontinued for reasons which were not officially told, the organization published its material in a series of multi-lingual books in co-operation with sponsors. The statistical organization has now confined its publishing activities to its website, receiving support from FIFA, organization that recognise the IFFHS and its work although the latter has no affiliation with the football’s governing body. Since 1991, the entity has produced a monthly Club World Ranking. The ranking takes into consideration the results of twelve months of continental and intercontinental competitions, national league matches (including play-offs) and the most important national cup (excluding points won before the round of 16). All countries are rated at four levels based upon the national league performance—clubs in the highest level leagues receive 4 points for each match won, 2 for a draw and 0 for a defeat. Level 2 is assigned 3 pts. (win), 1.5 (draw) and 0 (lost), and so on with the next lower levels. In continental competitions, all clubs receive the same number of points at all stages regardless of the performance level of their leagues. However, the UEFA Champions League and the Copa Libertadores yield more points than UEFA Europa League and Copa Sudamericana, respectively. The point assignment system is still lower for the AFC, CAF, CONCACAF and OFC continental tournaments. Competitions between two continents are evaluated depending upon their importance. Competitions not organized by a continental confederation, or any intercontinental events not recognized by FIFA, are not taken into consideration.

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Papin scored 30 goals for France in 54 matches. He played at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico, where France finished third, and at the 1992 European Championships in Sweden. His last game for the national team was in 1995. At club level, he played for Valenciennes (1984–1985), Club Brugge (1985–1986), Olympique Marseille (1986–1992), A.C. Milan (1992–1994), FC Bayern Munich (1994–1996), Bordeaux (1996–1998), Guingamp (1998–1999) and Saint-Pierroise (1999–2001). During Papin’s hugely successful spell at Olympique Marseille, with the Frenchman as striker and skipper Marseille won four French league championships in a row (1989–1992), a French league and cup double in 1989 and reached the final of the European Champions Cup in 1991, losing to Red Star Belgrade after a penalty shootout. In 1992, Papin joined Italian giants A.C. Milan for a world record fee of £10 million (equivalent to £19 million today), and was the first high-profile French player to join the Italian league since Michel Platini. However, he never established himself as a regular first team member with the rossoneri due to injuries and adaptation problems. He entered as a substitute during the 1993 UEFA Champions League Final where Milan lost to his former club, Marseille. Nevertheless, Papin has kept good memories of his spell in Italy and frequently cites former Milan managers Fabio Capello and Arrigo Sacchi as his models when coaching is concerned. In 1994, he was transferred to Bayern Munich where his season was again plagued by injuries. In his second season in Germany he was part of the side that won the UEFA Cup against Girondins de Bordeaux, a club that Papin would join the following season. With Bordeaux, he lost the final of the 1997 Coupe de la Ligue against Strasbourg. Papin’s career ended in 1998 with Second Division side EA Guingamp. Papin was a prolific striker on the French scene but, contrary to many other French great players, never really became dominant abroad. He was also part of the ‘cursed generation’ of French players that came between the Platini era of the 80’s and the 1998 world champions boasting the likes of Zidane, Thuram, Henry and company. Despite some talented players like Papin, Éric Cantona or David Ginola the French national team fared disappointingly, missing the 1990 and 1994 World Cups – the later after two humiliating defeats at home against Israel and Bulgaria – and being ousted in the group stage of Euro 1992 by Denmark after a perfect record in the qualifications. It was the only period (1989–1996) in French football where clubs actually did better than the national team. Papin was also iconic in French pop culture because of his caricature in the satirical TV puppet show Les Guignols de l’Info. At first, Papin was depicted as a rather dumb football player (a common stereotype in France), his only obsession being the many different ways to score goals. When Papin experienced difficulties in Italy, the coverage became more sympathetic, especially with the infamous Reviens JPP ! song where even God Himself would urge Papin to come back to his home country, because “France needs you !” He was twice linked with clubs in England later in his playing career. First, in March 1994, he was a transfer target for Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. Towards the end of his spell with Bordeaux in 1998, he was a target for ambitious Fulham, then a Division Two (third tier) side, and even expressed his desire to sign for the club. However, neither transfer ever happened and Papin finished his career without having spent any time in England. After a short time as manager of French clubs, he joined the local amateur club AS Facture-Biganos Boïen as a player in 2009, aged 45.

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The IFFHS annually give athlete and teams their awards based on their official statistics shared with FIFA. Some sample of IFFHS awards are: IFFHS “World’s Best Goalkeeper”, IFFHS “World’s Best Coach” or the IFFHS “World’s Best Playmaker” that is a footballing award which, since 2006, is given annually to the best playmaker of the year, as chosen by the IFFHS. The award is awarded every January at the World Football Gala: the winning playmaker is awarded a gold trophy. Spain’s Xavi for example has won the award a record four consecutive times, while compatriot Andrés Iniesta and Argentine Lionel Messi have won the award twice. Barcelona is the club with the most wins, with eight in total. France’s Zinedine Zidane was the first ever winner of the award, in 2006. Lionel Messi for instance is the only player in history to have won the IFFHS award in three different categories: World’s Best Playmaker, World’s Best Goalscorer and World’s Best Top Division Goalscorer. Brazil’s Marta was the first ever winner of the award, in 2012. U.S goalkeeper Hope Solo has won the most awards, with a record four consecutive wins between 2012 and 2015. The 1991 IFFHS “World Goalgetter” was the actual “World Best Top Goal Scorer” and it was assigned for the first time back then. The winner was Jean-Pierre Papin as the best top goal scorer worldwide.

Watch above Jean-Pierre Papin personal trophies and awards from his career. On the left it is visible the 1991 IFFHS “World Goalgetter” trophy that back then it was still the most important player’s award since Papin was awarded with the Ballon d’Or only in 1992.

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Lately the most IFFHS awarded players were Cristiano Ronaldo as IFFHS “World’s Best Top Goal Scorer” in 2013-2014-2016, Lionel Messi as “World’s Best Top Goal Scorer” in 2011 and 2012 and as “World’s Best Playmaker” in 2015 and 2016 and Manuel Neuer as “World’s Best Goalkeeper” in 2013-2014-2015-2016.

Did you Know?

During this Olympique Marseille’s period, Papin was the French league’s top scorer for five consecutive seasons (from 1988 to 1992). While at Marseille he won the Ballon d’Or, awarded to Europe’s top footballer, in 1991. He is the only player to win this award while playing for a French club.

2017-09-09T23:26:31+00:00