The New York TimesThe New York Times

The World Cup that changed everything

By Tariq Panja and Rory Smith

19 Nov 2022 · 6 min read

Michel Platini was expecting a private audience with the president of France when he arrived for lunch on a cold day in November 2010. Instead, as Platini, a legendary French player who in retirement had risen to become one of the most powerful men in soccer, stepped into a lavish salon inside the president’s official residence, he noticed immediately that the man he had come to see, Nicolas Sarkozy, was absent.

Instead, Platini was directed toward a small group chatting across the room, and to a conversation that would alter the course of his career, stain his reputation, and forever change the sport to which he had dedicated his life.

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