Fontaine netted 30 goals from 21 caps for France between 1953 and 1960. In 1958, he was instrumental in Les Bleus reaching the World Cup semifinals in Sweden.
He took six games to achieve his record-breaking 13-goal feat at the 1958 tournament, when he was a last-minute inclusion on the France squad.
Entering the tournament, the Morocco-born Fontaine was a little-known forward outside of the French league. Yet he tormented opponents with his speed and finishing touch — and even with someone else’s boots. He had to borrow a pair of cleats after damaging his own in practice.
RIP Just Fontaine.
A legend of French football who has sadly left us and a sad day for all at Paris Saint-Germain, a club he led to the first division 50 years ago. pic.twitter.com/HovqldRTir
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) March 1, 2023
A prolific striker with 259 goals from 283 matches in his club career, Fontaine was one of the key players of the great Stade de Reims team that reached the European Cup final in 1959.
Reims, who won three French top-flight titles with Fontaine, lost 2-0 to Real Madrid in the final but “Justo” ended up as the competition’s top scorer with 10 goals.
“A star of French football, an outstanding striker, a legendary Reims player … to his family … Stade de Reims send their most sincere condolences,” Reims said on Twitter.
“A thought for Just Fontaine,” French champions Paris Saint-Germain said on Twitter.
As a coach, Fontaine helped PSG gain promotion to the first division in 1974.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.