Larbi Ben Barek

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Larbi Ben Barek

Larbi Ben Barek (more rarely in the spelling Benbarek ), full name Abdelkader Larbi Ben M'barek (born June 15, 1914 , according to other sources June 16, 1914 or 1917 in Casablanca / Morocco ; † September 16, 1992 ibid), was a French - Moroccan football player .

Ben Barek was next to the Uruguayan José Leandro Andrade and the Brazilians Leônidas da Silva and Arthur Friedenreich one of the first dark-skinned football players of a high international level. The half right shone with technical skills, confusing dribbles, surprising passes and successful shots on goal.

Historical digression

The sources of his birth are not uniform - Ben Barek has temporarily called 1917 itself, later no longer received it - what the confusion during the "Great War" could be owed, which also with a conflict-ridden, turbulent phase in Morocco in superimposed on the first decades of the 20th century (military conquest by France under Hubert Lyautey , loss of Moroccan sovereignty [1912], anti-colonial uprising of the Rif - Kabyle under Abd el-Krim ). Whether he played his last international match when he was over 37 or even over 40 does not change the fact that to this day he is the oldest player to have ever been appointed to the French national football team.

There are a number of stories about Ben Barek that - true or fictitious - say a lot about the prejudices with which a dark-skinned North African (not only referred to as a Negro in German newspapers ) was confronted in Europe at the time. It is said that as a young man in Casablanca he refused to wear sturdy shoes to football matches and instead played point games in slippers . And at his first international match (1938 in Fascist Italy ) he is said to have been hooted permanently by the Neapolitan spectators, which was undoubtedly also racially motivated - after which he sang the Marseillaise on the pitch with a powerful voice (see also Étienne Mattler ), which made him very popular in France.

The club career

With the Idéal Club Casablanca Larbi Ben Barek reached the Moroccan Cup final in 1935; in the same year he is said to have played in the "regional team" of Morocco against that of Algeria, before the Union Sportive Marocaine de Casablanca signed him in 1936 . With USM he won the Moroccan championship title for the first time in 1938 and was in the same year in the final of the North African Championship, a competition between the league champions from the French-ruled Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia). 1938/39 Ben Barek laced his boots for Olympique Marseille , played all 30 games in Division 1 , scored twelve goals, became French runner-up and national team; Marseille is said to have paid Casablanca over 40,000 francs to secure its services. When war broke out , Ben Barek returned to Casablanca, where he won another four Moroccan titles. From the 1945/46 season he started for Stade Français Paris under Helenio Herrera , initially for a year in the second division (but this did not prevent regular appointments to the Equipe Tricolore ), then in Division 1 . Two fifth places for the club and a top spot for Ben Barek in the top scorer list (1947/48 place 5 with 20 hits) were the result. In 1948 he moved to Atlético in Madrid , losing his place in the national team, but winning the Spanish championship twice in five years. After two more seasons with Marseille in the D1 and reaching the cup final in 1954, Larbi Ben Barek ended his career in 1955 at the age of 38 (or 41) - crowned by his last international match ( see below ). He then worked as a coach, as far as is known but not at the level that he has reached as a player.


(The sources are contradictory for the period up to 1938)

  • FC El Ouatane Casablanca (1928–193 ?; as a youth)
  • Idéal Club Casablanca (? –1936)
  • US Marocaine Casablanca (1936-1938)
  • Olympique Marseille (1938-1939)
  • US Marocaine Casablanca (1939-1945)
  • Stade Français Paris (1945–1948)
  • Atlético Madrid (1948–1953)
  • Olympique Marseille (1953–1955)

The national player

Before Larbi Ben Barek became the French national team in 1938, he also played representative games for Morocco, including against the French B-Elf in April 1937. Since Morocco was only independent in 1956 and its football association only became a member of FIFA in 1959 , these missions do not count as official international matches.

Between December 1938 and October 1954 Larbi Ben Barek played a total of 17 times in the Équipe Tricolore (12 games for Stade Français, five for Marseille) and scored three goals. His international career for Les Bleus was divided into three phases: four (according to other sources five) assignments until May 1939, twelve (according to another source eleven) assignments from December 1945 to June 1948 and one last appointment in October 1954. So he was actually ( "Net") national players for just under three years and the war most likely prevented a much higher number of appearances. But with a total period of 15 years and ten months between his first and last appointment, he still holds France's record to this day as he does with regard to his age at his last international match ( see above, "Historical excursus" ).

The fact that Ben Barek was even called up on October 16, 1954 in Hanover against the “newly crowned” world champion Germany is primarily due to the upheaval in which the French found themselves after their disappointing performance in Switzerland . The new (and only reigning) coach Jules Bigot mainly reorganized the runner row and Sturm: to complement the younger regular players Kopa and Vincent , he was looking for suitable talent, and his eye also fell on the 37- or 40-year-old Moroccan, who just experienced its umpteenth spring in Marseille. The experiment was short-lived, ended almost tragically for Ben Barek, but positive for the Equipe Tricolore : after an attack by Herbert Erhardt , Ben Barek suffered a strain and was replaced in the 27th minute by Jacques Foix , who then two Goals to France's 3-1 contributed to the world champions.


  • French champion : Nothing, but runner-up in 1939 (with Marseille)
  • French cup winner : Nothing but finalist 1954 (with Marseille)
  • Spanish champion : 1950, 1951 (with Atlético Madrid)
  • Moroccan champion: 1938, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 (with US Marocaine Casablanca)
  • Longest national team career and oldest national player of all time in France


In 1998 he was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit posthumously.


  • Denis Chaumier: Les Bleus. Tous les joueurs de l'équipe de France de 1904 à nos jours. , Larousse, o.O. 2004 ISBN 2-03-505420-6
  • Paul Dietschy / David-Claude Kemo-Keimbou (co-editors: FIFA ): Le football et l'Afrique. EPA, o.r. 2008, ISBN 978-2-85120-674-9
  • Gérard Ejnès / L'Équipe: Une belle histoire. L'Équipe de France de football. , Hachette, Paris 2004 ISBN 2-951-96053-0
  • Pierre Lanfranchi / Matthew Taylor: Moving with the ball. The migration of professional footballers. Berg, Oxford / New York 2001, ISBN 1-85973-307-7

Web links

Notes and evidence

  1. ^ Roland H. Auvray: Le livre d'or du football pied-noir et north-africain. Maroc – Algérie – Tunisie. Presses du Midi, Toulon 1995, ISBN 2-87867-050-7 , pp. 116f.
  2. List of FIFA Order of Merit recipients ( memento of the original from September 5, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed on October 25, 2012 (PDF; 71 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /