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Lev Yashin Biography

Known as the “Black Spider,” Lev Yashin is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of soccer. Born on October 22, 1929, in Moscow, Russia, he passed away on March 20, 1990. Yashin’s remarkable goalkeeping skills and unique playing style revolutionized the position.

Throughout his career, Yashin played for the Soviet Union national team from 1954 to 1970. He represented his country in four World Cup tournaments (1958, 1962, 1966, and 1970) and led the Soviet team to the European Championship title in 1960. 

Yashin’s outstanding performances earned him numerous accolades, including the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 1963, making him the only goalkeeper to receive this prestigious award.

Off the field, Yashin was known for his charismatic personality and iconic all-black attire. His influential presence helped elevate the status of goalkeepers in the world of football. Lev Yashin’s legacy lives on to this day, as he remains an inspiration and role model for future generations of goalkeepers.

This article reveals more about Lev Yashin Biography, early life, profile, professional and international career, honors, and personal life.

“Black Spider” – Lev Yashin Biography

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His impact on the sport, both in terms of his goalkeeping prowess and his innovative mindset, solidifies his place as a true soccer legend. Everything to know about Lev Yashin is in this article so stay with us and read the rest.

Lev Yashin Information

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  • Full Name: Lev Ivanovich Yashin
  • Nickname: “Black Spider” and “Black Panther”
  • Profession: Football Player

Physical Stats

  • Height: 189cm (6ft 2in)
  • Eye Color: Brown
  • Hair Color: Brown
  • Weight: 82kg

Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 22 October 1929
  • Birth Place:  Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
  • Nationality: Russian

Football Information

  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Professional Debut: 1950
  • Jersey Number: 1

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Lev Yashin Early Life

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According to Lev Yashin Biography, he was born on October 22, 1929, in Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union. Lev Yashin real name is Lev Ivanovich Yashin. Born in a town in the eastern part of Moscow, he came from a family of industrial workers. Due to this, he faced significant obstacles in pursuing a football career. 

Despite the challenges, Yashin persevered and dedicated himself to various sports. While nurturing his passion for football, he also dreamt of emulating the achievements of chess world champion Mikhail Botvinnik. Initially, when Yashin began his football journey, he played as a striker. 

However, due to the challenging circumstances of the Second World War, Yashin and his family were forced to relocate to Ulyanovsk in 1941. During that time, Yashin took a position as a locksmith at the Red October Aircraft Engine Plant. In 1944, Lev Yashin’s family returned to Moscow, marking another chapter in Yashin’s life and football career.

Yashin engaged in football by joining a factory team located in Tushino. In 1947, he joined the Soviet army, where he served as a mechanic in the air force. It was during this period that Yashin also showed his goalkeeping skills by playing for the Air Force team known as Krylya Sovetov. Thus, in addition to his military responsibilities, Yashin continued to pursue his passion for football and improve his skills as a goalkeeper.

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Lev Yashin Profile

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In this part of Lev Yashin Biography, we read more about his football profile. Being one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, he played for the Soviet Union. He wore the jersey number 1 as a goalkeeper of the Soviet Union.

Before starting his professional career, he played in Dynamo Moscow youth academy. During his professional career, he played only for the Dynamo Moscow.

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Lev Yashin Football Career

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At the age of 19 in 1948, Yashin made a significant move to FK Dynamo Moscow, where he transitioned into the role of goalkeeper. Yashin proved to be a standout talent with his exceptional reflexes. The coach recognized Yashin’s potential and was happy to have such a promising young goalkeeper in his ranks. In this part of Lev Yashin Biography, we explore his football journey.

FK Dynamo Moscow

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As mentioned in Lev Yashin Biography, he dedicated his entire 21-year professional career to Dynamo Moscow, the club he joined in 1949. While his early years at the club were challenging, marked by occasional errors and setbacks, Yashin persevered and gradually established himself as the preferred goalkeeper. By 1953, he had secured the role as the first-choice goalkeeper, a position he held until his retirement in 1970.

Nevertheless, Yashin’s “Golden Era” with Dynamo began in the subsequent year, marked by his inaugural triumph in the Soviet Championship alongside the club. This victory served as a catalyst for his sustained success, as he secured four more league titles with Dynamo (in 1955, 1957, 1959, and 1963). 

Credit: allfootballapp.com

Additionally, Yashin proudly clinched the USSR Cup three times, asserting his team’s dominance in the tournament in 1953, 1967, and 1970. These accomplishments solidified Yashin’s status as a formidable goalkeeper and contributed to Dynamo’s reputation as a force to be reckoned with in Soviet football.

Despite that, in the same year of winning his fourth Soviet championship, Yashin achieved remarkable individual recognition. France Football, the prestigious publication, awarded him the Ballon d’Or, crowning him as the best player in Europe. Following this memorable achievement, Yashin continued to play until the end of the previous year, finally deciding to retire in 1971.

His retirement came after a triumphant finish, winning the USSR Cup. According to Lev Yashin Biography, he left the sport with an impressive legacy, having etched his name as one of the finest goalkeepers in history, and his impact on the game of football lasting for generations to come.

International Career

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As mentioned in Lev Yashin Biography, in 1954, he received a call-up to represent the Soviet national team, and he went on to accumulate an impressive total of 78 caps throughout his international career. With the national team, Yashin celebrated victories in significant competitions, including the 1956 Summer Olympics and the inaugural edition of the European Championship, known as the 1960 European Nations’ Cup. 

Additionally, he had the privilege of participating in three FIFA World Cups, taking the field in the 1958, 1962, and 1966 editions of the tournament. Yashin’s performances in the World Cup were noteworthy, as he kept four clean sheets in the 12 matches he played in the final tournaments. This achievement exemplified his exceptional goalkeeping skills and showcased his ability to shut out opponents, leaving them scoreless effectively. 

Credit: RIA Novosti

The 1958 World Cup, which took place in Sweden, marked a significant turning point for Yashin as his performances garnered widespread attention. Representing the Soviet Union, he helped lead the team to the quarter-finals. Despite encountering significant challenges, including sustaining two concussions during the 1962 World Cup, Yashin again led the Soviet Union to a commendable quarter-final finish. 

The team’s journey ultimately ended at the hands of the host country, Chile. During a match against Colombia, the Soviet Union found themselves in a commanding 4-1 lead. This match was a defining moment for Yashin, leading to his iconic nickname, the “Black Spider.” This nickname became a symbol of Yashin’s agility and prowess in goal.

Despite this association with the “Black Spider” persona, Yashin’s loyal fans always regarded him as the fearless “Black Panther.” This nickname captured the essence of his courageous and dominant nature on the field.

The last Dance
Credit: btsgoalies.com

Yashin was not only known for his remarkable skills on the field but also for his willingness to offer guidance to his teammates. This selfless and supportive attitude was evident as he made his fourth appearance in the World Cup finals in 1970, held in Mexico. Despite being the third-choice backup goalkeeper, Yashin was also an assistant coach. The Soviet team again advanced to the quarter-finals, showcasing their continued success.

According to Lev Yashin Biography, in 1971, Yashin bid farewell to his club career, playing his final match for Dynamo Moscow in Moscow. To commemorate his contributions and legacy, a FIFA testimonial match was organized for him at the Lenin Stadium in Moscow. 

The event was attended by an impressive crowd of 100,000 fans and witnessed the participation of renowned football stars, including Pelé, Eusébio, and Franz Beckenbauer. This testimonial match served as a fitting tribute to Yashin’s incredible career, highlighting his lasting impact on the world of football.

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Lev Yashin Death

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As mentioned in Lev Yashin Biography, in 1986, he experienced thrombophlebitis, likely contracted during his time in Budapest. Unfortunately, this condition led to the amputation of one of his legs. Tragically, Yashin’s health further deteriorated, and he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Despite undergoing surgery to save his life, he died due to the illness in 1990.

Lev Yashin, the legendary goalkeeper, passed away on March 20, 1990, in Moscow, Russia, at 60. His death was a loss felt not only by the football community but also by fans worldwide who admired his exceptional skills and contributions to the game.

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Lev Yashin Playing Style

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In this part of Lev Yashin Biography, we read more about his playing style. Lev Yashin had a distinctive and revolutionary playing style that set him apart from other goalkeepers of his time. His unique approach to the position transformed the goalkeeper role and made him a true pioneer in the game.

Yashin was known for his exceptional athleticism, agility, and quick reflexes. He possessed incredible shot-stopping abilities, making remarkable saves that seemed impossible to many. Yashin’s acrobatic dives and spectacular leaps enabled him to reach and parry shots that appeared destined for the back of the net. His lightning-fast reactions and remarkable anticipation allowed him to make reflex saves, even on the most unexpected shots.

Furthermore, Yashin was known for his fearlessness and bravery in goal. He fearlessly confronted attackers, rushing off his line to make daring and crucial interceptions. Yashin was unafraid to put his body on the line to block shots and protect his goal. His indomitable spirit and courage made him a formidable presence in one-on-one situations.

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Lev Yashin Legacy

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Lev Yashin left behind an enduring and impactful legacy in the world of football. Widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers ever, he revolutionized the position with his unique playing style and exceptional skills. 

His numerous accomplishments and accolades define his legacy. Many works are devoted to him, which are mentioned below.

  • Song “Вратарь” (“Goalkeeper”, 1971) by Vladimir Vysotsky.
  • Poem “Года летят” (“Years go by”) by Robert Rozhdestvensky.
  • Poem “Вратарь выходит из ворот” (“Goalkeeper is coming out of the goal”, 1974) by Yevgeny Yevtushenko.
  • A Russian-language biopic about his life, entitled Lev Yashin: Goalie of My Dreams, was released on 22 October 2017
  • Statues of Yashin were unveiled at both Luzhniki Stadium, in 1997, and Central Dynamo Stadium, in 1999.
  • The new billion-dollar Dynamo Moscow stadium, VTB Arena, is officially called Lev Yashin Stadium.
  • Several streets are named after Yashin in Russian cities, and there are multiple monuments of Yashin, both in Russia and abroad.
  • Yashin features in EA Sports’ FIFA football video game series: he was added as an Ultimate Team Icon in FIFA 18, joined by many other legends of the sport.
  • In 2018, Yashin appeared on a new 100-ruble commemorative banknote from the Central Bank of Russia celebrating the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the country; he also appeared on the official World Cup poster released in November 2017.

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Lev Yashin Honors

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In this part of Lev Yashin Biography, we take a look at his honors and achievements. He played a pivotal role in the success of the Soviet Union national team, helping them achieve victories in major tournaments such as the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 1960 European Nations’ Cup. With Dynamo, he won multiple Soviet Championships and USSR Cups, solidifying his status as one of the most successful players in Soviet football at the time.

Looking at Lev Yashin stats, he played 358 matches during his professional career, and internationally he played 74 matches.

Honors Summary

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Dynamo Moscow

  • Soviet Top League (1954) (1955) (1957) (1959) (1963)
  • Soviet Cup (1953) (1966–67) (1970)

Soviet Union

  • UEFA European Football Championship (1960)
  • Olympic Games Gold Medal (1956)
  • FIFA World Cup Fourth place (1966)

Individual

  • European Goalkeeper of the Year (1956) (1957) (1959) (1960) (1961) (1963) (1964) (1965) (1966)
  • UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament (1960) (1964)
  • USSR Goalkeeper of the year (1960) (1963) (1966)
  • Ballon d’Or (1963)
  • World Soccer World XI (1963) (1964) (1966) (1967)
  • FIFA XI (1963) (1968)
  • Europe XI (1964) (1965)
  • European football Oscars (1963-64)
  • Order of Lenin
  • Silver Olympic Order
  • FIFA Order of Merit
  • Placar’s All-Time Team
  • FIFA World Cup All-Time Team
  • Planète Foot’s All-Time Team
  • France Football’s Football Player of the Century #10
  • Planète Foot’s 50 Best Players of all Time
  • Venerdì’s All-Time Team
  • Venerdì’s 100 Magnificent
  • World Soccer’s 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time #11
  • World Team of the 20th Century
  • Voetbol International’s Team of the Century
  • Voetbol International’s World Stars by Raf Willems
  • Jornal A Tarde All-Time Team
  • Placar’s 100 Stars of the World Cup #23
  • O Estado de São Paulo All-Time Team
  • Berlin-Britz Team of the Decade (1960s)
  • World Hall of Fame of Soccer
  • FIFA Goalkeeper of the 20th Century
  • FIFA World Cup Dream Team
  • Golden Player of Russia
  • World Soccer Greatest XI of all time
  • World Sports dream team of the past 20 years (1970)
  • IFFHS Legends
  • IFFHS World Goalkeeper of the Century
  • IFFHS European Goalkeeper of the Century
  • Ballon d’Or Dream Team
  • IFFHS All-time Men’s Dream Team
  • IFFHS All-time Europe Men’s Dream Team

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Lev Yashin Personal Life

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According to Lev Yashin life story, he married Valentina Timofeevna, his partner, for the rest of his life. The couple had two daughters, Irina and Elena. Irina works for Aeroflot, the Russian airline, and is married to Sergei Frolov. They have a son named Vasily, born on February 22, 1986. Vasily, as the grandson of Lev Yashin, pursued a career as a goalkeeper and played for various clubs.

Yashin’s second daughter, Elena, also works for Aeroflot and is married. She has a daughter named Natasha and is now a proud grandmother of two grandchildren. Thus, Lev Yashin’s family continues to carry on his legacy while making their contributions to their respective endeavors.

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Aslik Jacobs
Aslik Jacobs
Being a football fan since she was born, Aslik has a great passion for exploring and writing football-related articles.
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