|Nov 2, 1923
|Mar 20, 2007 (83 years old)
Léon Rossi was born in the Alpes-Maritimes region of the South of France. He began his playing days with OGC Nice, with whom he would become a historical figure for the club. As of 1945, he would become a member of the professional team during his lengthy spell. Spending seven seasons at the club, he was a lynchpin of the team, playing as a defensive midfielder. This solid and hard-working player was a former member of the Resistance during the Second World War, and he helped Nice to win the Second Division Championship in 1948, and that of the First Division in 1951 and 1952. With Nice, he would also win the French Cup in 1952. That year would also see him leave Nice after 205 appearances, and with 19 goals to his name, signing initially for Toulouse, with whom he went on to win the Second Division title in 1953, and then for Red Star at the same level. In 1954, he would sign for Stade Rennais, making 24 appearances in his lone season in Rennes' colours. At the beginning of the 1954/1955 season, he wasn't necessarily first-choice, but he would gradually edge his way into the starting line-up to take the place of Vialleron in midfield, playing alongside Cueff. He also made a couple of appearances on the left-hand side of the Rennes defence. He would finish his playing days in the Second Division with Cannes, where he ended up as Player/Manager, as he would become at Brive from 1957-1960. After that, he managed Stade Français between 1961 and 1964, before returning to his beloved OGC Nice. Seen as the eternal saviour of the club, he would coach his team on several occasions (four seasons in total, between 1968 and 1980). He would notably guide his team to promotion to the First Division in 1970, and helped them to reach the French Cup Final in 1978. He passed away, aged 83, in Nice, on 20th March 2007.