Local Hero - Grzegorz Lato

more than a year ago
Football fans will instantly recognise the name of Grzegorz Lato, the Golden Boot winner at the 1974 World Cup Finals and one of world football’s least likely looking heroes. Lato was a wonderful player who though played often as a winger, used his excellent reading of the game and explosive pace to score 45 goals for his country. His career coincided with the most successful era in Polish football and his goals, as well as helping Poland to take the bronze in West Germany, also saw them win Olympic Gold in ’72, Silver in ’76 and a second third-placed finish at the World Cup Finals in ’82. Lato, who was instantly recognisable because of his short, stocky build and receding hairline, spent virtually his whole career at the Polish club Stal Mielec, due to the ruling communists of the time refusing to allow players to transfer abroad until they were 30. Lato went onto become a Polish senator and later tarnished his legacy somewhat during an unpopular spell as head of the Polish FA.


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