The Soviet Black Spider
Lev Ivanovich Yashin (1929-1990), the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d´Or (1963). This year the football crown set upon his head and the Black spider/Black Panther entered the palace of football gods.
With over 150 penalty kicks saved in his career, no goalkeeper has achieved such facade and very few can also claim to have over 270 clean sheets in their career.
His performances, especially whilst flying towards the ball, could be all compiled into a documentary showcasing how to fly without wings. Lev Yashin had the agility and precision of an animal hunting its prey.
Like a panther or a deadly spider, his stature, agility and braveness turned him into more than a goalkeeper. A Czar of the team.
During his career, crowned with the Ballon d´Or, he only played for Dynamo Moscow (326 appearances) and the National Team (74 apps). The Moscow born and bread icon was not only a football player but also an Ice Hockey goalkeeper, which explains some part of the braveness.
His indelible mark on football was also rewarded in 2019 when France Football gave his name to the annual trophy of the best goalkeeper. Plus, his inclusion in the Ballon d'Or 'Dream Team', teaming up with the likes of La pulga, Cristi, D10S, Ronaldo & Beckenbauer, leaves no doubt that he sits at the football gods table.
“Someone once said that a team with Pele started [a game] with a 1-0 lead. A team with Yashin started winning 2-0.”
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