He was the striking, shaven-headed character rs gold who pulled balls out of glass pots during televised UEFA competition draws.Barely-known by the general public, he was also the man behind a complex attempt to force Europe's clubs to rein in their spending, but which ended up leaving fans and even club directors confused.

On Friday, Infantino was chosen as the new president of FIFA, a position which made his predecessor Sepp Blatter as instantly recognisable as some of the world's leading statesman.It was a remarkable leap for the affable Swiss-Italian.The polyglot lawyer only entered the FIFA race in late October, one day before the deadline, as a stop-gap candidate after Platini had been placed under investigation for ethics violations.When Platini failed to clear his name and was banned from football for six years, Infantino was left carrying the hopes of European football.

In the intervening time, he has visited several dozen countries, clocking up by his own calculations enough air miles to have flown around the world three times."On October 27, I started my journey in Cairo, and last Monday I finished in Cape Town, so it was a kind of Cape to Cairo in reverse," he said during his presentation to the FIFA congress on Friday."

It was destiny which brought me to start the journey, an exciting journey, a fantastic journey," he said. "Five months ago I was not thinking of being a candidate but many things have happened."CHANGING FORTUNESAt the same time as he was delivering his speech in Zurich, almost three hours' drive away in Nyon the draw was being held for the Europa League, Europe's second-tier club competition.