Inside the love triangle that just about shattered France’s first golden era

France is currently experiencing a golden vein of footballing talent.

Kylian Mbappe is the undisputed prince amongst them – with the soon-to-be Real Madrid forward arguably the finest footballer on the planet. And with Mbappe in their ranks, they’ve conquered the world.

However, this isn’t France’s first golden generation – with the first’s crowning glory happening at Euro 84, but that was almost derailed when a love triangle turned toxic.

READ MORE: Ex-France star is worth 715 times more than Kylian Mbappe with £10billion net worth

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Back in the early 1980s, the kings of the continent were Saint-Etienne – although they didn’t have a European Cup to their name, they boasted an array of talent. Their centre-piece was Michel Platini, who was about to win the Ballon d’Or.

Platini was partnered in the midfield by Jean-Francois Larios – France’s answer to George Best.

What do you think of the tale of Jean-Francois Larios and Michel Platini? Let us know in the comments section

Jean Francois Larios said it was it was love at first sight with Michel Platini's wife
Jean Francois Larios said it was it was love at first sight with Michel Platini’s wife

Larios was one of the most talented players of his generation, named as France’s best in 1980, but he never played for Les Bleus beyond the age of 26.

Platini and Larios were close friends, patrolling the midfield together at Saint-Etienne and for France – but rumours started to emerge that a deep connection that had been made between Larios and the wife of the future Ballon d’Or winner, Christelle.

Larios took part in an interview with French journalist Bertrand Metayer on the release of his autobiography, I Played With Fire back in of November 2017, detailing his side of the story.

Michel Platini married Christelle in 1977 and the couple now have two children
Michel Platini married Christelle in 1977 and the couple now have two children

Larios said: “This is the story of Adam and Eve. It was love at first sight, a true love story. We thought we were well hidden but unfortunately it was rumored.

“With him [Platini], we no longer spoke. Not even a hello. But we continued to play together. When you have a contract, you shut your mouth.

“We were in the middle of the championship, there was the World Cup coming…in January 1982, I went to see coach Michel Hidalgo to explain the situation to him. I suggested to him, that for the good of the team, I will pretend to have an injury and not go to the World Cup. He refused.

UEFA president Michel Platini attends a press conference prior to the 65th FIFA Congress at Hallenstadion on May 28, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland.
Michel Platini would go onto become UEFA president after he retired

“But I had become a third card. It was he (Platini) who decided who played or not in the France team. I knew it, I took my responsibilities. It would have been different if he had been an average player.

“There are things like these that have happened in other clubs and it has not come out. A woman who leaves with her husband’s best friend sometimes happens in life.

“Finally, she said goodbye to me on the phone, she chose not to stay with me. I had to accept it.

“[With Platini], we only saw each other again in 2001 on a beach in Mauritius. I was jogging and getting out of the water. He just took his head in his hands when he saw me, but we didn’t have a word.”

Platini would win the Ballon d’Or after France were crowned as European Champions in 1984 – Larios, meanwhile, was playing in Switzerland after moves to Barcelona and Atletico broke down.