Lev Yashin – best goalkeeper
Lev Yashin was the famous Soviet football player, European and Olympic Champion. By the way, he was the best goalkeeper of the XX century. Yashin had played 207 games in which he did not miss a single ball. You know, Yashin was the first Soviet player to receive the most prestigious Golden Ball award. To tell the truth, he is still the only goalkeeper to receive this honorary sports award. Talented man became a legend of world sports.
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, the boy and his parents moved to Ulyanovsk and in 1944 they returned to Moscow. He worked at the factory and played football in his free time.
Professional coaches drew their attention to the promising young man when he served in the army. Yashin chose the Moscow club Dynamo and became the goalkeeper of the youth team.
Soon he was the third after the famous goalkeepers Alexei Khomich and Walter Sanaya in the first team. Since then, Lev played only for Dynamo, having spent in the T-shirt of this club for as many as 22 seasons. It was a unique achievement. He was a true patriot of the Dynamo football club. Even in the matches for the USSR national team Lev was wearing a shirt with the letter D on it.
Few people know that at first Lev played both football and hockey, and showed very significant results. He was a hockey goalie and could become a great hockey player. On March 12, 1953 Yashin won the Soviet Union Ice Hockey Cup. However, he decided to play only football.
Thanks to the goalkeeper Moscow Dynamo became the champion of the country five times, won the cup three times and many times took prize-winning places.
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.
Two years later, in 1958, Yashin first appeared at the World Cup. Then 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.
Yashin left football when he was 41. The farewell match took place on May 27, 1971 and gathered 103,000 viewers. It was the match between the Dynamo team players from different cities and the world stars team. Englishman Bobby Charlton, German Gerd Muller, Portuguese Eusebio and other high-profile players of the time came to Moscow. At the end of the last match Yashin said “Thank you, people”.
After the end of his career Lev became a coach.
By the way, the Soviet football player was acquainted with legendary Brazilian Pele.
According to international media and various federations of football, Lev Yashin is the best goalkeeper of the 20th century, and also included in the list of the greatest football players in the history of football.
Yashin was married to Valentina Timofeevna and they had two daughters – Irina and Elena.
Lev smoked a lot. Because of smoking Yashin suffered from a stomach ulcer.
On March 18, 1990 legendary footballer was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labor. But in this rank he lived only two days. On March 20, Lev Ivanovich Yashin died of stomach cancer.
Famous poets including Vladimir Vysotsky, Robert Rozhdestvensky, Evgeny Evtushenko dedicated their lines to the goalkeeper.