Christian Piot













I am convinced that Christian Piot is one of the best European goalkeepers, and perhaps even of the world.

– Eusebio

«  Les mains d’or », the golden gloves. Journalist Raymond Arets (Les Sports, RTBF) couldn’t have done any better in describing the legendary goalie Christian Piot. Successor of Jean Nicolay in 1968, and making place for Michel Preud’homme in 1977, it simply shows how lucky Standard has been to be able to field such quality players and personalities for over three decades (1954-1986).

Affiliated with Standard at 15 – apprentice butcher at that age! – Christian just had to cross Pont d’Ougrée to join Sclessin and start an illustrious career for Les Rouches. He made his debut on January 2nd 1967, and would go on to play 322 games, marked by three league titles under the leadership of René Hauss (1969, 1970, 1971), a Golden Boot (1972), and 40 games with the national team.  « I have had the best 15 years of my life at Standard; a dream for someone born in Liège. I have won championships, been an international, and played a game at Wembley against a selection of players from England, Denmark and Ireland who just joined the European Community. I started that game before being substituted by Dino Zoff who wasn’t world champion yet. My team mates were  Vogts, Beckenbauer, Müller, Netzer, Marius Tresor and.. Van Haneghem who would go on to haunt him later in his career… » Does Christian have any regrets when looking back at his career?  « Well, when you have to hang up your boots before being 30, you can’t be satisfied, can you? Especially for a goalie. Just imagine me having to watch Dino Zoff becoming world champion at the age of 40! »

His weak knees were the culprit: « I had to undergo surgery for the second time in 1977. In July 1978 we played a friendly in the Intertoto Cup in Germany, when their striker lunged into me and tore every ligament in my knee. In total I had five operations before I had to call it quits… » The irony wants that Christian wasn’t even meant to play that game. « Indeed! I had received an invite from the BBC to participate in “Superstars”, a sporting event which regrouped top athletes from different disciplines with amongst others Bjorn Borg, Kevin Keegan, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt,  Daley Thompson, etc.  But Roger Petit declined the invitation and asked me to play for Standard. »

Finito. End of career. « The medical world wasn’t as advanced as it is today. My disability is recognised at 22% – for which he gets 128 euro a month – and that has quite a big impact on my state pension. » But Standard’s number one does not have any regrets, and takes complete responsibility for his career, made up of highs and lows but never giving up.  « One could argue that I was born 30 years too early. With the current salaries I would have been able to secure the future for my children and grandchildren, but I don’t pity myself. There were teams who were prepared to increase my salary though. Via Lucien Levaux I learned that Johan Cruyff really wanted me to join Barcelona, but the rule of maximum 2 non-Spanish players meant it wasn’t to be. The only real contact between clubs was with Club Bruges. Mister Petit demanded at least 20 million Belgian francs (500.000 euro), but Bruges was only prepared to bid 15 million, and it ended there and then. »  In those days there was no Bosman ruling, and players were at the mercy of their club management.  « Today you won’t see a player being loyal to his club for his entire career. I think the last one was Ryan Giggs at United. »

Christian Piot also scored 10 goals, all penalties obviously as during those days it was inconceivable that a goalie would take a free kick. « My only job was to stop goals being scored. But it was René Hauss who let me have a go at it. The Chief knew I did it well at the training ground. When we played Linfield and were 0:2 up in the dying seconds, I was given the chance to take the penalty as Léon Dolmans missed one the week earlier against Beerschot. And I haven’t looked back since, and scored many more. »

Although Sclessin is his favorite ground, he has different feelings about The Kuip in Rotterdam: « Two events come to mind. In 1974 we beat Feyenoord in Liège in the home game in the European Cup. I levelled the teams and Jean Thissen scored in the last minute to give us a comfortable first leg win. One week later we started well and I had a good game, until Gigi Govaert missed a back pass and Peter Ressel easily scored one. One minute later another attempt hit both posts before ending up in my arms. I told myself that this was going to be our night, but oh I was wrong. » In the 69th minute Wim Van Haneghem tried his luck from a distance and the ball went through Christian’s legs and ended up in goal. Nightmare for a keeper. « I see Wim take his chance and I am confident that I’ll easily stop the ball, so I already start looking who to pass it onto afterwards. That was clearly my mistake and I lost concentration and the bal ended up in the net. Unforgivable. And for hat generation of Standardfans surely the goal still gives many of them nightmares (laughs).  »

He’ll relive a similar nightmare in Rotterdam two years later with the national team. « In January of that year I got injured during a friendly in Munich. Everything was torn again. Typically that would take 6 months, with the first national game to be played on April 25th, so way too early. In March I started to get weekly visits from Raymond Goethals: “Ca va aller, hein fieu!” (It’ll be fine hey son). You should know that at that moment I couldn’t even dive for a ball, let alone play a game. When he finally asks me the big question, I honestly answer that it is too soon and that he should ask Jean-Marie (Pfaff), but his response was: “Do me a favour and don’t say anything but it’ll be my last game… »  That game would end in a 5:0 trashing.  « I played an OK game, but even at my best, we would have lost 3:0. After the game I was just relieved that my knee didn’t give in. For the return game in Brussels, new coach Guy Thys puts me on the bench. After the game I told him that I would rather stay at home than to waste time being a subtitute. ». And so be it. He’ll play another 4 games before retiring on March 26th 1977.

The post career is one of many ups and especially downs. « From 1967 to 1976 Roger Petit never contributed to the social security system for his players. » It meant another career would have to start after his playing days. Christian opened a shop selling religious souvenirs, and afterwards a hotel-restaurant in Banneux, before a painful divorce brings him to the ground. We’ll find him back in the restaurant business with his new partner, Dominique, to deliver bread with his son Didier who later would own two successful bakery shops.  « I only didn’t work for four months in my entire career. After my role as coach for the keepers at Standard (2000-2005), it took me some time before I could start at Isosystem. » He shared his expertise not only with the new generation of Standard goalies, but also at … FC Liège, Aywaille and Hamoir. His sons Didier and Julien had to carry a heavy last name during their respective careers. « They didn’t have it easy and had to work hard in their careers… »

Although his personal idol remains Jean Nicolay, Christian does admire some of the new kids on the block such as Manuel Neuer  « for the way he participates in the game with his feet » and Thibaut Courtois « a worldclass keeper from whom we haven’t seen the best yet ». His guilty pleasure? Attending Standard’s home games at Sclessin. « You can feel that our president Venanzi respects our history and our past. At the heart of the club however are the fans. And that hasn’t changed at all for the past 60 odd years… »

He summarises his nomination for the Hall of Fame in a single word: « Pride. The love I have received from so many people in the game is invaluable. All that I got left is my Golden Boot and the privilege of being a Standardman for life… »


(c) Christian Raspiller, septembre 2018

Birth: October 4th 1947, in Ougrée
Position: Goalkeeper
Affiliated at Standard: July 1st 1962 – January 29th 1984
Trophies with Standard: 3x Belgian Championships (1969, 1970, 1971), 1x Belgian League Cup (1975)
International caps / goals : 40 / 1


Youth Development

1959 – 1968
1962 – 1965

R. Ougrée F.C. (130)
Royal Standard Club Liégeois (loan)


1965 – 1968
1968 – 1984
1984 – 1988
1988 – 1990

Royal Standard Club Liégeois (loan)
Royal Standard Club Liégeois
F.C. Ensival (5932)
R.C.S. Verviétois (8)



Belgian Championship
Belgian F.A. Cup
Belgian League Cup
European Cups



Belgian Championship
Belgian F.A. Cup
Belgian League Cup
European Cups