Lev Yashin – best goalkeeper
Lev Yashin was the famous Soviet football player, European and Olympic Champion, the best goalkeeper of the XX century. Yashin had played 207 games in which he did not miss a single ball.
Worldwide, Yashin was called “Black Panther” – for his black goalkeeper uniform, agility and acrobatic jumping, “Black Spider” or “Black Octopus” – for his long hands.
Lev was born on October 22, 1929 in Moscow into the working class family. In 1941, when World War II began, he and his parents moved to Ulyanovsk and in 1944 Lev returned to Moscow. He worked at the factory and played football in his free time.
At the dawn of sports career he was a hockey goalie – and could become a great hockey player. On March 12, 1953 Yashin won the Soviet Union Ice Hockey Cup.
In 1954, Yashin became the goalkeeper of the USSR national football team. And in 1956, thanks to his impenetrable protection, USSR team became the Olympic champion at the Olympic Games in Melbourne.
In 1958, Yashin first appeared at the World Cup.
In 1960 the USSR national team won the first European Cup in Paris.
In autumn 1963 Yashin played in a symbolic world team in the match against England, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of English football. In the same year Lev was awarded the “Golden Ball” – as the best footballer in Europe.
Lev was a true patriot of the Dynamo football club. 22 seasons, from 1949 to 1970, he played for his native team. Even in the matches for the USSR national team Lev was wearing a shirt with the letter “D” on it.
Yashin left football when he was 41. The farewell match took place on May 27, 1971 and gathered 103,000 viewers. At the end of the last match Yashin said “Thank you, people”.
Yashin was married Valentina Timofeevna and they had two daughters – Irina and Elena.
Lev smoked a lot. Because of smoking Yashin suffered from a stomach ulcer.
Lev died on March 20, 1990 of stomach cancer.