Growing up, this very post brought allot of argument between me and my friends. Till date people still doubt and don’t believe that a goalkeeper has won the Ballon d’or.
Many atimes trophies, statistics, greatness, personal accolades are often touted as the benchmarks for many professional footballers. But for Lev Yashin, his best reputation he gained through playing football, was his ability playing in the least fashionable position in an era long before regular wall-to-wall coverage of the game, hidden by the closed borders of the Soviet Union, but was able to make a name for himself as the most revered Russian footballer.
though it wasn’t easy for him to achieve this fit. As a teenager he joined Dynamo Moscow’s. He initially couldn’t make it into the first team after suffering the indignity of conceding direct from a goal kick, instead he opted to play in goal for the sport society’s ice hockey team with whom he won the Soviet cup in 1953. Before joining the club, he has encountered severe anxiety issues that forced him to quit his job. Lucky for him, injuries to key rivals gifted him a second chance, however he grabbed the chance with renewed strength.
Lev ivonovich Yashin, was born on 22 October 1929, he was a Soviet Union professional footballer, considered by many as the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the sport.
He was outstanding as he has the eye to push attack at a time goalkeepers just spent the full 90minutes in the goal waiting to be called into action. He was nicknamed the “Black Spider” or the “Black Panther” due to his mode of dressing, which is black from head to toe.
Yashin was previledged to appear in four(4) world cup from 1958-1970, and was chosen on the FIFA Dream Team of the history of world cups. He had other personal accolades to his name, apart from being crowned as the the Ballon d’or winner in 1963. 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.
many players finds it very difficult to convert from the penalty spot whenever he is in goal. As was recorded by FIFA, he was able to save over 150 penalty kicks, than any other goalkeeper. He kept a total over 270 clean sheets in his career, winning a gold medal at the 1956 Olympic football tournament, and the 1960 European championship. Which attributed to him winning the 1963 Ballon d’or, a fit no other goalkeeper is yet to achieve.
All this personal award contributed to him being voted as the best goalkeeper of the 20th century by IFFHS.
He is a one club player, who played all his entire career with Dynamo Moscow, which lasted for two decades from 1950-1970 winning the USSR football championship five(5) times and the Soviet cup three(3) times.
He got nominated for Ballon d’or in 1960 and 1961 and was placed fifth and fourth, respectively. In 1962, he did a very big mistake in the game against Colombia, which the Soviet Union was leading 4-1, Yashin let in a few soft goal including a goal scored by Marcos Coll directly from a corner kick (the first and only goal scored directly from a corner in FIFA world cup history). Which led the French newspaper L’Equipe to predict the end of Yashin’s career. But, he did bounced back in 1963 to win the 1963 Ballon d’or despite the challenges he encounterd in 1962.
Till date, we have witness an outstanding performancees from many professional goalkeepers, but non has ever achieved this fit as a goalkeeper.