France’s Alphonse Areola becomes first player since 1982 to lift World Cup despite never being capped before

  • Alphonse Areola was third-choice France goalkeeper at the World Cup in Russia
  • He watched on the whole tournament as France went on to lift the World Cup
  • Areola has never featured for Les Bleus despite winning the tournament
  • You have to go back to 1982 for the last time a player managed the same feat 

As well as winning the biggest prize in football this summer, France’s Alphonse Areola also managed to do something that hasn’t been done for 36 years.

The Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper and his France team-mates arrived back in Paris with the World Cup in hand after beating Croatia 4-2 in an enthralling final at the Luzhniki Stadium. 

Areola, third choice in Russia, celebrated winning the tournament in style with his compatriots and yet he has never played a single minute of action for France, let alone at a World Cup.

Alphonse Areola watched on from the sidelines as France went on to lift the World Cup

Alphonse Areola watched on from the sidelines as France went on to lift the World Cup

Areola (left) has never played a single minute for France despite winning the World Cup

Areola (left) has never played a single minute for France despite winning the World Cup

At past World Cups, there have been players who have not played a single minute of action but had earned caps before the tournament, including Erik Durm four years ago and Victor Valdes in 2010. 

And 1982 was the last time a player had never featured for his country yet still won the summer tournament.

That would be former Italy star Franco Baresi. The then 22-year-old AC Milan man hadn’t picked up a single minute of action for the Azzurri when they won in Spain.

Franco Baresi had never won a cap for Italy before winning the World Cup in 1982

Franco Baresi had never won a cap for Italy before winning the World Cup in 1982

Baresi, who won six Serie A titles and three European Cups, ended up making 81 appearances for Italy.

And there was another Italian who managed the same feat as Baresi in 1982.

Baresi’s compatriot, Giovanni Galli, was third-choice shot-stopper just like 25-year-old Areola and had never won a cap before the tournament.

 

 

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