The story of Bernard Lacombe is the story of a 12-year-old from Lyon who, returning from a match at the Stade Gerland after watching his idol Fleury Di Nallo, promised his parents that he would one day become the center-forward for Olympique Lyonnais. Five years later, on December 7, 1969, he played his first official match with OL in Division 1 and entered the club's history by scoring his first goal at 17.
His prolific club career, mainly at Lyon and Bordeaux, made Bernard Lacombe the most prolific French striker in the history of the French league, with 255 goals between 1969 and 1987, including 149 for OL; only Fleury Di Nallo, his childhood idol, did better with 222. He also played an important role for the French national team (38 matches, 12 goals from 1973 to 1984) including at the World Cup in Argentina, where he became the fastest scorer in the history of the competition, thanks to his goal against Italy after 38 seconds. He would also finish 3rd in the 1982 World Cup. It was a career as a player that was rich in trophies: European champion in 1984, French champion in 1984, 1985 and 1987, winner of the Coupe de France in 1973, 1986 and 1987, and the Coupe de Gambardella in 1971.
A year after the end of his career in Bordeaux, Bernard Lacombe was recruited by Jean-Michel Aulas to return to his boyhood club. Raymond Domenech and Bernard Lacombe took the reins of the team during the 1988-1989 season. It was a successful bet because both managed to take the club up immediately to Division 1. For 32 years, he held the various positions of sports director, coach (October 1996/2000), recruitment manager and adviser to President Jean Michel Aulas. Bernard Lacombe has also been the President of OL Fondation and is currently the President of the OL Légendes Association, which includes all the former OL players who have played in an official match.
For more than thirty years in service to the institution, he has accompanied generations of strikers from Florian Maurice to Karim Benzema, Sidney Govou to Alexandre Lacazette, and helped the club to build a unique track record in French football : promotion to Division 1 in 1989, 7 consecutive titles in Division 1 / Ligue 1 Champion (from 2002 to 2008), 1 Coupe de la Ligue (2001), 2 French Cups (2008, 2012), 7 Trophées de Champions ( 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012), and a record number of European matches for a French club including two European semi-finals (2010, 2017).
Fifty years later, at the age of 67, Bernard Lacombe will now reture. As emblematic a figure of the city of Lyon as Paul Bocuse, the Lumière brothers, or Bertrand Tavernier, he appears as well on the fresco of Lyon located in the 1st Arrondissement. All of Lyon knows him and recognizes him. Bernard Lacombe, like how things are done at Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, will continue to serve as President of the Alumni Association. The OL institution will stay home as long as he wants.
On the weekend of 15/16 December, for the reception of Rennes, Olympique Lyonnais will pay tribute to one of its greatest servants in the presence of his friends and those who have grown alongside him for nearly half a century.