Lev Yashin is considered by many as the greatest goalkeeper of all-time and having researched him, it’s not hard to see why.
He saved over 150 penalties over the course of his career and played in four World Cups for the Soviet Union from 1958 to 1970. He is also the only goalkeeper to have won the Balon D’Or, winning the illustrious award in 1963.
Nicknamed ‘The Black Spider’ as he wore an all-black kit, Yashin was an imposing figure between the sticks.
He was fearless and would dive at oncoming opponent’s feet to get the ball without giving it a second thought.
The Soviet keeper was also imposing for the defenders in front of him, constantly shouting out orders. This was in an era when goalkeepers weren’t known for being particularly vocal, defenders would often orchestrate play from the back.
Yashin won Olympic Gold in the 1956 Games with the Soviet Union and was also part of the side that won the European Championship in 1960.
He won five domestic league titles playing for Dynamo Moscow as well as three Soviet Cups.
In 1967, Yashin was awarded the ‘Order of Lenin’, the highest civilian decoration in the Soviet Union. He was one of only a few sportsmen to win the illustrious award.
Yashin didn’t only just play football, he was also a decent ice-hockey goalkeeper, too. He won a Soviet Cup in 1953 but gave up on his hockey career a year later to concentrate on football.
In his 20 year career, Yashin made 812 career appearances from 1950 until he finally retired in 1970.