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French Ligue 1 club Nice have been taken over by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe. More proof that France is edging closer to the English and Italian model and away from the German and Spanish, but will it work?
Ineos, an energy group run by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, recently bought French Ligue 1 club Nice from its previous Chinese-US owners in a deal worth between €100 million and €120 million ($115 and $128 million). The final price would be more than the €79 million spent by the Qatar royal family to buy Paris Saint-Germain in July 2011 or the €45 million paid by US businessman Frank McCourt for the acquisition of Marseille in September 2016. Among Ratcliffe’s other sports ventures are Swiss football club Lausanne Sport and the Team Ineos cycling team, which was formerly Team Sky. “We analyzed a number of clubs, in line with our business vision at Ineos – in terms of value and potential – and Nice corresponds with those criteria,” Ratcliffe said. “We have made some mistakes with Lausanne, but we learn quickly, these were rectified and we are already seeing the results.” Ratcliffe said he wants to establish Nice as a team that competes in European club competition on a regular basis, “and importantly, sustain it.” But the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, observers say. After more than 60 years since being a key founding member of European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, French club football has very rarely been anything but marginal. So, will this change? Michel Platini: French football’s playmaker turned politician Outstanding playmaker With his deft feet, immense footballing brain and a developed nose for goal, Michel Platini was established as one of the world’s best by the early 1980s, at the latest. After stints with Nancy and St. Etienne in Ligue 1, he moved to Juventus in 1982 and became a genuine global star. Playing for “the Old Lady,” he won the league title twice and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1984. Michel Platini: French football’s playmaker turned politician National hero Platini also reveled in international glory. As the right hand to his coach Michel Hidalgo, he orchestrated play for France and led them to victory on home soil in the 1984 European Championships. In the final against Spain, Platini scored the game’s only goal with a free kick. La Grande Nation c
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