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English Section

Legendary Polish football star turns 70

08.04.2020 17:49
Grzegorz Lato, one of the stars of the Polish national football squad in its 1970s heyday, celebrated his 70th birthday on Wednesday.
Grzegorz Lato in action against Brazil in 1974
Grzegorz Lato in action against Brazil in 1974 Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-N0706-0040 / Mittelstädt, Rainer / CC-BY-SA 3.0 / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)

Lato achieved star status for his extraordinary performance at the 1974 World Cup in Germany.

He became the tournament’s top scorer, with seven goals, and led Poland to its greatest success: a bronze medal.

A fast winger with superb striking abilities, Lato played in the national team for 13 years, earning a total of 100 caps, with 45 goals.

That is the third highest goal total in the history of the national team, behind those of Robert Lewandowski and Włodzimierz Lubański.

After retiring from domestic football, Lato played for foreign clubs including the New York Cosmos, Lokeren in Belgium, and Atlante F. C. in Mexico.

After returning to Poland in the early 1990s, he worked as a coach and manager in several clubs. He also went into politics, serving as a senator for the Democratic Left Alliance from 2001 to 2005.

In 2008, Lato became head of the Polish Football Association (PZPN) and oversaw the Euro 2012 football tournament, which was co-hosted by Poland. He was succeeded in the post by Zbigniew Boniek, another former Poland player.