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French Football Legend Raymond Kopa Dies at 85[/caption]
Real Madrid, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and FIFA expressed their condolences for the loss of French football legend Raymond Kopa, who died on Friday morning aged 85.
The newspaper Le Courrier de l'Ouest announced the death of Kopa, who was also a striker for Stade de Reims, reports Efe.
Kopa died on February 24 morning after he was hospitalised on February 19 following a long illness.
The RFEF expressed in a statement its sadness at the death of the French player and highlighted many of his achievements.
"Real Madrid sends its deepest condolences to his family and are deeply saddened by his passing," the Los Blancos said in a statement.
With Real Madrid, he won three European Cups and two La Liga titles in the three seasons he played in Spain, before returning to Stade Reims in 1959.
"The Frenchman was one of the stars of his generation and at Real Madrid he was part of an exceptional group of forwards along with Rial, Puskas, Gento and Di Stéfano," the statement added.
FIFA also bade farewell to the French legend and winner of the Ballon d'Or in 1958.
"Kopa will be remembered as the best player of the FIFA World Cup Sweden 1958, alongside his compatriot Just Fontaine, in a tournament that marked the emergence of a certain Pele," the FIFA statement said.
Raymond Kopaszewski was born in Noeud-les-Mines, northern France in October 1931, and in 1958 became the first French player to win the Ballon d'Or.
He is regarded in France as the true forerunner to former UEFA president Michel Platini and Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
Raised in a family of Poles who immigrated to France, Kopa shone with the France squad in the 1958 World Cup and was chosen as best player of the tournament.