Bruno Martini, who became “one of France’s greatest goalkeepers” only after a failed exam blocked the path to his chosen career as a sports instructor, has died at the age of 58, his last club Montpellier announced on Tuesday.
Martini, who spent much of his playing days with Auxerre, suffered a heart attack as he returned to his car after a training session at Montpellier.
His career started as a 19-year-old with Auxerre, not far from where he was born and grew up. Apart from two seasons on loan at Nancy, he remained at Auxerre for 14 seasons before finishing his career at Montpellier.
“He was a true legend,” Auxerre said of the keeper they rated with the country’s best.
He made 31 appearances for France including Euro ’92 and a cameo on the bench at Euro ’96. While major international honours alluded him he was a member of the France U-20 team that took the 1988 world title with Laurent Blanc and Eric Cantona.
“How sad, what a great man,” said former player and manager Luis Fernandez who now works in sports radio. “Football has lost someone with integrity, honesty and passion.”—APP