Jump to content

Lev Yashin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lev Yashin
Yashin in 1965
Personal information
Full name Lev Ivanovich Yashin
Date of birth (1929-10-22)22 October 1929
Place of birth Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Date of death 20 March 1990(1990-03-20) (aged 60)
Place of death Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)[1]
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Youth career
1948–1950 Dynamo Moscow
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1950–1970 Dynamo Moscow 326 (0)
International career
1956 Soviet Union Olympic 6 (0)
1954–1967 Soviet Union 74 (0)
Medal record
Men's football
Representing  Soviet Union
UEFA European Championship
Winner 1960 France
Runner-up 1964 Spain
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1956 Melbourne Team
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Lev Ivanovich Yashin (Russian: Лев Иванович Яшин; 22 October 1929 – 20 March 1990) was a Soviet professional footballer considered by many to have been the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game.[2] He was known for his athleticism, positioning, imposing presence in goal, and acrobatic reflex saves.[3][4][5][6] He was also deputy chairman of the Football Federation of the Soviet Union.

Yashin earned status for revolutionising the goalkeeping position by imposing his authority on the entire defence.[3][4][7] A vocal presence in goal, he shouted orders at his defenders, came off his line to intercept crosses and also ran out to meet onrushing attackers, done at a time when goalkeepers spent the 90 minutes standing in the goal waiting to be called into action.[3][7][8] His performances made an indelible impression on a global audience at the 1958 World Cup, the first to be broadcast internationally. He dressed head to toe in apparent black (in truth very dark blue),[9] thus earning his nicknames the "Black Spider" or the "Black Panther",[10] which enhanced his popularity.[3][7]

Yashin appeared in four World Cups from 1958 to 1970, and in 2002 was chosen on the FIFA World Cup Dream Team. In 1994, he was chosen for the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, and in 1998 was chosen as a member of the World Team of the 20th Century. According to FIFA, Yashin saved over 150 penalty kicks in professional football — more than any other goalkeeper.[11][12] He also kept over 270 clean sheets in his career, winning a gold medal at the 1956 Olympic football tournament,[13] and the 1960 European Championships.[12][14]

In 1963, Yashin received the Ballon d'Or, the only goalkeeper ever to receive the award.[3] He was additionally named posthumously to the Ballon d'Or Dream Team in 2020, a greatest all-time XI, and was voted the best goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS.[15] He was also named to the IFFHS All-time Men's Dream Team in 2021. He was named by France Football as the greatest goalkeeper of all time in 2020.[16] In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Russia by the Russian Football Union as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.[17]

Early life[edit]

Yashin was born in Moscow, in a Russian family of industrial workers. When he was 12, World War II forced him to work in a factory to support the Soviet war effort. However his health at the age of 18 (after he suffered a nervous breakdown) meant he was unable to work.[9][18] Thus, he was sent to work in a military factory in Moscow. After being spotted playing for the factory team he was invited to join the Dynamo Moscow youth team.[19]

Club career[edit]

Yashin's Dynamo Moscow jersey (middle), next to Platini’s (left) and Kahn’s (right) in the San Siro museum

Yashin’s debut for Dynamo Moscow came in 1950 in a friendly match. It was not the debut he would have hoped for, as he conceded a soft goal scored straight from a clearance by the opposing keeper. That year he played in only two league games, and did not appear in a senior match again until 1953. But he remained determined, and stayed at Dynamo in the reserves waiting for another opportunity. Yashin also played goalie for the Dynamo ice hockey team during those early years of trying to break into the senior squad. He managed to win a USSR ice hockey cup in 1953 and was third in the USSR ice hockey championship as goalkeeper.[20]

He spent his entire professional football career with Dynamo Moscow, from 1950 to 1970, winning the USSR football championship five times and the Soviet Cup three times.[21] Yashin's club teammate, rival and mentor was Alexei "Tiger" Khomich, the keeper of the Soviet national team, who had become famous for his role in Dynamo Moscow’s British tour. He also internally rivalled goalkeeper Valter Sanaya, who left the club in 1953.[22]

International career[edit]

Yashin in 1960

In 1954, Yashin was called up to the Soviet national team, and would go on to gather 78 caps.[23] With the national team he won the 1956 Summer Olympics as well as the first European championship, the 1960 European Nations' Cup.[9] He also played in three World Cups, in 1958, 1962 and 1966.[24] Yashin is credited with four clean sheets out of the 12 games he played in the World Cup finals.[9]

The 1958 World Cup, played in Sweden, put Yashin on the map for his performances, with the Soviet Union advancing to the quarter-finals.[9] In a group stage match against the eventual Cup winners Brazil, the Soviet team lost 2–0. Facing a Brazil team that featured Garrincha and a 17 year old Pelé in attack, Yashin's performance prevented the score from becoming a rout.[25]

Yashin was nominated for Ballon d'Or in 1960 and 1961 and placed fifth and fourth, respectively.[26] In 1962, despite suffering two concussions during the tournament, he once again led the team to a quarter-final finish, before losing to host country Chile.[27] That tournament showed that Yashin was all too human, having made some uncharacteristic mistakes. In the game against Colombia, which the Soviet Union was leading 4–1, Yashin let in a few soft goals, including a goal scored by Marcos Coll directly from a corner kick. It was the first and the only goal scored directly from a corner in FIFA World Cup history.[28] The Soviet Union's game against Colombia finished in a 4–4 draw, which led the French newspaper L'Équipe to predict the end of Yashin's career.[6] He did, however, make an outstanding save against Chile in the quarter-final. Despite this, the Soviet Union suffered a 2–1 defeat and were eliminated from the World Cup.[9]

Despite the disappointment of the 1962 World Cup, Yashin would bounce back to win the Ballon d'Or in December 1963. One of his best performances that year was the 1963 England v Rest of the World football match, where he made a number of spectacular saves. From that point onward he was known to the world as the "Black Spider" because he wore a distinctive all-black outfit and because it seemed as though he had eight arms to save almost everything.[3][7] But to his fans, he was always the fearless "Black Panther".[10] He often played wearing a cloth cap of burnt-brick colour. Yashin led the Soviet team to its best showing at the FIFA World Cup, a fourth-place finish in the 1966 World Cup held in England.[9]

Always ready to give advice to his comrades, Yashin even made a fourth trip to the World Cup finals in 1970, held in Mexico, as the third-choice back-up and an assistant coach. The Soviet team again reached the quarter-finals. In 1971, in Moscow, he played his last match for Dynamo Moscow. Lev Yashin's FIFA testimonial match was held at the Lenin Stadium in Moscow with 100,000 fans attending and a host of football stars, including Pelé, Eusébio and Franz Beckenbauer.[3]

Post-playing career[edit]

After retiring from playing, Yashin spent almost 20 years in various administrative positions at Dynamo Moscow. A bronze statue of Lev Yashin was erected at the Dynamo Stadium in Moscow.[29]

In 1986, following a thrombophlebitis contracted while he was in Budapest, Yashin underwent the amputation of one of his legs.[29] He died in 1990 of stomach cancer, despite a surgical intervention in an attempt to save his life. He was given a state funeral as a Soviet Honoured Master of Sport.[29]

Yashin was survived by wife Valentina Timofeyevna and daughters Irina and Elena;[1] when Russia hosted the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Valentina was still living in the Moscow apartment that the Soviet state had given her husband in 1964.[30] Yashin has a granddaughter and one surviving grandson; another grandson died in 2002 at age 14 from injuries suffered in a bicycle accident.[30] The surviving grandson, Vasili Frolov, played as a goalkeeper in Dynamo's youth section and was on the books of the senior side,[31] but never played a game with the senior side, retiring from play at age 23. He now runs a goalkeeper training school in Moscow near Spartak Moscow's current stadium.[30]

Style of play and accolades[edit]

"Lev Yashin was first-class, a real super goalkeeper. His positional play was excellent, but everything he did was top-class. He was the model for goalkeeping for the next 10 to 15 years, without a doubt. I visualised myself doing some of the things he was doing, even though I was already playing in the top division I used to learn from him."

—England legend Gordon Banks, voted the second greatest goalkeeper, behind Yashin, of the 20th Century.[5]

Yashin was "the peerless goalkeeper of the century".

—Portugal legend Eusébio.[7]

Considered by many in the sport to be the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game,[2] Yashin was an imposing presence in goal due to his tall stature, and was highly regarded for his athleticism, agility, positional sense, bravery, and exceptional reflexes, which enabled him to produce acrobatic and spectacular saves.[3][4][5][6][32][33] Yashin remains the only goalkeeper to have won the Ballon d'Or, in 1963.[3] He also stopped 151 penalty kicks during his career, more than any other goalkeeper in history, and kept over 270 clean sheets.[29] For his outstanding service to the people and to his country, Yashin was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1967, the highest award of the USSR.[3]

“Yashin revolutionised the role of goalkeeper like no other before him, by always being ready to act as an extra defender” and by “starting dangerous counter-attacks with his positioning and quick throws”.

— France Football, June 2018.[9]

A vocal and authoritative figure between the posts, Yashin is known for revolutionising the goalkeeping position:[3][4][7] he shouted orders at his defenders, came off his line to intercept crosses, and also ran out to meet onrushing attackers, done at a time when goalkeepers spent the 90 minutes standing in the goal waiting to be called into action.[3][7][8] Yashin would always organise the defensive game of his team, often so fiercely that even his wife accused him of yelling too much on the pitch. He rarely captained his teams, as the later accepted custom of appointing a goalkeeper captain was virtually unheard-of in that era, but his leadership on the field was always evident. Yashin was one of the goalkeepers who began the practice of punching balls out in difficult situations instead of trying to catch them. Other novel practices he developed were the quick throw of the ball to begin a counterattack, coming out of the penalty area to anticipate danger, and the command and organisation of the defenders – practices now quite common among goalkeepers.[3] When asked what his secret was, he would reply that the trick was "to have a smoke to calm your nerves, then toss back a strong drink to tone your muscles."[11][29]

In 1994, FIFA established the Lev Yashin Award for the best goalkeeper at the World Cup finals. FIFA polls named Yashin as the sole goalkeeper in World Team of the 20th Century. World Soccer magazine named him in their 100 Greatest Players of the 20th century. Many commentators consider Yashin the best goalkeeper in the history of football, which has resulted in him being chosen to be the goalkeeper in most of the world-all-time teams (including the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team and the FIFA Dream Team).[34] In 2020 Yashin was named in the Ballon d'Or Dream Team, a greatest all-time XI.[35]


Yashin on a 2016 Russian stamp from the series "Football Legends"
Commemorative coin issued in 2008 by the Central Bank of Armenia
Bronze statue of Yashin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The following works are devoted to Yashin:

Ice hockey career[edit]

Yashin also played ice hockey (also as a goalie) and he won the Soviet Cup in March 1953.[9] He stopped playing ice hockey in 1954 to concentrate on his football career.[9]


"What kind of a goalkeeper is the one who is not tormented by the goal he has allowed? He must be tormented! And if he is calm, that means the end. No matter what he had in the past, he has no future."

— Lev Yashin.[43]

"The joy of seeing Yuri Gagarin flying in space is only superseded by the joy of a good penalty save."

— Lev Yashin.[44]

"There have only been two world-class goalkeepers. One was Lev Yashin, the other was the German boy who played for Manchester City."

— Lev Yashin on Bert Trautmann.[45]

"I am not the best goalkeeper in the world, it is Vladimir Beara."

— Lev Yashin, upon receiving the award for best player in 1963.[46][47]

"Yashin plays football better than me".

— Striker Sandro Mazzola after a 1963 Italy–USSR match, during which Yashin saved his penalty.[48]

Career statistics[edit]


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League Soviet Cup Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Dynamo Moscow 1950 Top League 2 0 0 0 2 0
1951 0 0
1952 0 0
1953 13 0 5 0 18 0
1954 24 0 1 0 25 0
1955 22 0 4 0 26 0
1956 19 0 0 0 19 0
1957 12 0 0 0 12 0
1958 6 0 0 0 6 0
1959 19 0 0 0 19 0
1960 18 0 2 0 20 0
1961 19 0 2 0 21 0
1962 17 0 0 0 17 0
1963 27 0 2 0 29 0
1964 28 0 3 0 31 0
1965 20 0 0 0 20 0
1966 8 0 0 0 8 0
1967 20 0 6 0 26 0
1968 17 0 2 0 19 0
1969 22 0 2 0 24 0
1970 13 0 3 0 16 0
Career total 326 0 32 0 358 0


Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Soviet Union 1954 2 0
1955 4 0
1956 10 0
1957 5 0
1958 6 0
1959 2 0
1960 5 0
1961 5 0
1962 7 0
1963 4 0
1964 7 0
1965 5 0
1966 7 0
1967 5 0
Total 74 0

Other statistics[edit]



Dynamo Moscow

Soviet Union


Ice hockey[edit]

Dynamo Moscow

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Лев Иванович Яшин" (in Russian). academydinamo.ru. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Yashin, Lev Ivanovich.". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m ""Yashin, the impregnable Spider"". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. FIFA. Retrieved 23 November 2013
  4. ^ a b c d Guillem Balagué (5 February 2010). "Casillas names his top ten No1s". UEFA.org. Archived from the original on 28 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Euro 1960: Lev Yashin leads Soviets to glory in France". BBC. Retrieved 21 May 2014
  6. ^ a b c "The path of the 'Panther'". BBC News. 9 April 2002. Retrieved 21 April 2008.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Lomas, Mark (29 April 2010) ""Lev Yashin: Russian Revolutionary"". Archived from the original on 22 May 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) ESPN. Retrieved 21 May 2014
  8. ^ a b Grahame L. Jones (15 May 2010). "Top World Cup goalkeepers". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j “Bullet maker to Ballon d'Or: The man who reinvented goalkeeping”. BBC. Retrieved 7 June 2018
  10. ^ a b "The Black Panther: The greatest goalkeeper of all time". BBC. 23 June 2018.
  11. ^ a b c ""Panther" gegen "Spinne"" ["Panther" vs. "Spider"]. FIFA (in German). 12 May 2016. Archived from the original on 13 May 2016.
  12. ^ a b c Jennings, Patrick. "Yashin". BBC News. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Lev Yashin". Olympedia. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  14. ^ Flint, Andrew (23 August 2017). "Lev Yashin: the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d'Or". These Football Times. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  15. ^ Stokkermans, Karel. "IFFHS' Century Elections". RSSSF. Retrieved 25 June 2008.
  16. ^ a b Torrance, Sam (15 February 2023). "France Football ranked the 10 greatest goalkeepers of all-time - Gianluigi Buffon 4th". GiveMeSport. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  17. ^ "Golden Players take centre stage". UEFA. 29 November 2003. Archived from the original on 12 March 2004. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  18. ^ Storey, Daniel (28 September 2016). "Portrait of an icon: Lev Yashin".
  19. ^ "On This Day Legendary Goalkeeper Lev Yashin Would've Turned 90". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  20. ^ "A tribute to Lev Yashin". Bleacher Report. 21 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Lev Ivanovich Yashin". Britannica. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  22. ^ “Lev Yashin: The Black Panther Who Changed the Goalkeeper Position“ Archived 23 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Russian Football News. Retrieved 23 June 2018
  23. ^ Arnhold, Matthias (13 December 2012). "Lev Ivanovich Yashin – International Appearances". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  24. ^ a b c d Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Lev Yashin". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020.
  25. ^ Castro, Ruy (2005). Garrincha – The Triumph and Tragedy of Brazil's Forgotten Footballing Hero. London: Yellow Jersey Press. ISBN 0-224-06433-9.
  26. ^ Reno, Bill (12 May 2015) Why a Goalkeeper Will Never Win Another Ballon d'Or. Paste Magazine.
  27. ^ "Victor Ponedelnik". UEFA EURO 2008. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2008.
  28. ^ "Historic moments at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023". FIFA Museum. 19 August 2023. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
  29. ^ a b c d e Greaves, Jimmy (2008). Football's Great Heroes and Entertainers. Hachette UK. p. 1949. ISBN 1444718150
  30. ^ a b c Jennings, Patrick (7 June 2018). "Yashin". BBC.com. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  31. ^ Pryakhin, Valery (19 January 2007) Вратарь «Динамо» Василий Фролов, внук Льва Яшина: Бутсы деда мне великоваты Archived 16 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine. sovsport.ru
  32. ^ "Saving grace: Europe's favourite goalkeepers". UEFA.com. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  33. ^ Mark Doyle (27 January 2018). "Buffon, Schmeichel or Yashin? Top 10 goalkeepers of all time". Goal.com. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  34. ^ de Arruda, Marcelo Leme (15 May 2004) World All-Time Teams. Rec. Sport. Soccer Statistics Foundation. rsssf.org
  35. ^ "Ballon d'Or Dream Team: Xavi alongside Messi and Cristiano". Marca. 14 December 2020. Archived from the original on 15 December 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  36. ^ Roganov, Nikolai (25 January 2013) История песни «Вратарь». Владимиру Высоцкому сегодня исполнилось бы 75 Archived 24 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine. sovsport.ru
  37. ^ Galchuk, Andrei (2014). Мир мужских увлечений. Лучший подарок настоящему мужчине. ЛитРес. pp. 172–. ISBN 978-5-457-59663-4.
  38. ^ Shestak, Anna (2009) Евгений ЕВТУШЕНКО: «Поэзии я учился у советского футбола». Bulvar Gordona, Vol. 38 (230)
  39. ^ Стали известны претенденты на роль Льва Яшина (голосование) [Contenders for the role of Lev Yashin revealed]. Sovetsky Sport. 4 March 2015. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  40. ^ "From Rio to Russia: Imaging the World Cup". Archived from the original on 30 December 2022. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  41. ^ "Pose for a photo with legendary Lev Yashin in Moscow and elsewhere". Mos.ru. Archived from the original on 29 August 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  42. ^ "Russia Commemorates 2018 World Cup with Country's 1st Polymer Banknote". CoinWeek. 25 May 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  43. ^ "Yashin, the impregnable Spider". FIFA.com. 21 March 2018. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015.
  44. ^ "The spider against the panther". FIFA.com. 7 June 2018.
  45. ^ "Bert Trautmann, Who Won Iron Cross and F.A. Cup, Dies at 89". The New York Times. 7 June 2018.
  46. ^ Jonathan Wilson (5 August 2008). "Meet Yugoslavia's ballerina Beara, once the best keeper in the world". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  47. ^ Buturugeanu, Alex (1 October 2010). "Trădătorii (III): Vladimir Beara". Istoria Fotbalului. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  48. ^ "Yashin, the man in black who shone bright". UEFA.com. 7 June 2018.
  49. ^ Лев Яшин. russiateam.ru (in Russian). Archived from the original on 24 August 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  50. ^ a b "Lev YASHIN". russiateam.ru. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  51. ^ a b Yashin, Lev at National-Football-Teams.com
  52. ^ "1960 team of the tournament". Union of European Football Associations. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  53. ^ "1964 team of the tournament". Union of European Football Associations. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  54. ^ a b c d "ERIC BATTY’S WORLD XI – THE SIXTIES" Retrieved on 29 November 2015
  55. ^ a b FIFA XI´s Matches – Full Info
  56. ^ "Eastern European Footballer of the season". WebArchive. Retrieved 5 July 2024.
  57. ^ "Matches of Supranational Representative Teams 1937-1970". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  58. ^ "Matches of Supranational Representative Teams 1937-1970". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  59. ^ "Matches of Supranational Representative Teams 1937-1970". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  60. ^ "European football Oscar 1964". BigSoccer Forum. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  61. ^ "Revista do Esporte (RJ) - 1959 a 1970 - DocReader Web". memoria.bn.br. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  62. ^ "Ballon d'Or awards revisited by BigSoccer users". BigSoccer Forum. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  63. ^ "FUWO 1966" (PDF). FCC-Wiki. Retrieved 23 April 2024.
  64. ^ "FUWO 1967" (PDF). FCC-Wiki. Retrieved 23 April 2024.
  65. ^ a b c d e "World All-Time Teams". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  66. ^ a b c d e f "The Best x Players of the Century/All-Time". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  67. ^ "Venerdì's All-Time Top-100 (100 Magnifici)". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  68. ^ "Os 100 Craques das Copas (Placar Magazine)". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  69. ^ "Hall of Fame of Soccer Mexico and World". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  70. ^ "The Greatest: – how the panel voted". World Soccer. 23 June 2018.
  71. ^ "Old great players lists (esp. 1950s - 1970s) ?". BigSoccer Forum. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  72. ^ "IFFHS announce the 48 football legend players". IFFHS. 25 January 2016. Archived from the original on 24 September 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  73. ^ a b "IFFHS' Century Elections". RSSSF. Retrieved 22 December 2021.
  74. ^ Crépin, Timothé (14 December 2020). "Ballon d'Or Dream Team : Découvrez les révélations de ce onze de légende !". France Football (in French). Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  76. ^ "IFFHS". IFFHS. 29 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  77. ^ "IFFHS MEN WORLD TEAM OF THE XXth CENTURY (1901-2000)". www.iffhs.com. Archived from the original on 28 May 2021. Retrieved 8 November 2021.

External links[edit]