Lev Yashin Biography

Mon 20 September 2021 | 12:00

He is the best goalkeeper in the history of football according to many fans and critics and the only goalie to ever win the Ballon d’Or. In this article, we will take a look at Lev Yashin biography.

Lev Yashin, born on 22 October 1929 in Moscow (Russian SFSR, USSR), and who died on 21 March 1990 in the same city, was a Soviet international footballer, who played as a goalkeeper. Following the end of his career, he was vice-president of the USSR Football Federation.

He is frequently regarded as the best goalkeeper of all time and is the only goalkeeper to have been awarded the Golden Ball, which he received in 1963. In fact, he was the first player in this position who can be considered 'modern' both tactically and technically.

He was never afraid to come off his line to block the striker, and he also pioneered the reflex saves, aerial and fist save that all goalkeepers today know and learn. His trademark all-black uniform, often paired with a cap of the same colour, gained him the nickname 'Black Spider', comparing his goal to an impregnable web.

Yashin played his whole career with Dynamo Moscow. He was a gold medalist at the 1956 Olympic Games, and also won the European Championship in 1960 and competed in three World Cups with the Soviet team.

All You Need to Know About Lev Yashin Biography

The International Federation of Football Associations (IFFHS) named Yashin the "best goalkeeper of the century" in 1999, both in Europe and in the world. He was included in the World Team of the 20th Century.

Lev Yashin Information

Now that you know the legendary Russian goalkeeper better, in this section of

Lev Yashin biography

, we will share the same general information about him such as

Lev Yashin nationality

to let you know him even more. Stay tuned.

Lev Yashin Bio

  • Full Name: Lev Ivanovich Yashin

  • Nickname: Black Spider

  • Profession: Professional Footballer

Lev Yashin Physical Stats

  • Weight: 82 Kg

  • Height: 1.89 m

  • Eye Color: Brown

  • Hair Color: Dark Brown

Lev Yashin Football Information

  • Position: Goalkeeper

  • Jersey Number: 1

  • Professional Debut: 1950

Lev Yashin Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 22 October 1929

  • Birth Place: Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union

  • Zodiac Sign: Libra



Stay tuned to this section of

Lev Yashin biography

as we will share some information about

Lev Yashin childhood

and more.

Lev Yashin Early Life

He was born in Bogorodskoye in the east of Moscow, into a family of industrial workers. It was almost impossible for him to play football. He spent a long time dreaming of succeeding chess world champion Mikhail Botvinnik, while at the same time he also practised fencing, basketball, tennis, water polo and played ice hockey.

And when Yashin started football, he first played as a striker. In 1941, Yashin and his family relocated to Ulyanovsk during the Second World War, and in 1943 he started an internship as a locksmith at the Red October Aircraft Engine Plant, a factory that had been relocated to Ulyanovsk. In 1944, his family moved back to Moscow.

Yashin played football in a factory team in the then Moscow suburb of Tushino. Yashin was called up to the Soviet army in 1947. While in Moscow, he was a mechanic in the air force, also playing as a goalkeeper in the air force team Krylya Sovetov.

As a 19-year-old in 1948, he moved to FK Dynamo Moscow and played as a goalkeeper at the associated sports academy for young talents led by head coach Chernyshev, who was delighted with his reflexes.

Stay tuned to this section of Lev Yashin biography as we will share some information about his professional career with Dynamo Moscow.

Lev Yashin Profile

Throughout his 21-year career Yashin represented Dynamo Moscow, the club he joined in 1949. He did not have an easy start, with frequent slip-ups. However, Yashin managed to become the first choice goalkeeper in 1953 and kept his place until 1970. In 1958, as an ice hockey player, he declined a call-up to the Soviet National Hockey Team to focus on football.

However, his "Golden Era" with Dynamo started the following year, when he won his first Soviet Championship with the club. He went on to win the League four more times (1955, 1957, 1959 and 1963). In addition, he won the USSR Cup three times (in 1953, 1967 and 1970).

Nevertheless, his other accomplishments at Dynamo are hard to ascertain accurately, because Yashin's best years at the club were during the most closed times of communism in the Cold War.

Nevertheless, the year in which he won his fourth Soviet championship, he was named the best player in Europe by France Football, who presented the Ballon d'Or to him rather than Gianni Rivera, the leading name of that year's European champions (

AC Milan

). In 1971, Yashin retired after winning the USSR Cup at the end of the previous year.

In 1972, Dynamo were runners-up in the European Cup Winners' Cup, but they did not know how to replace the leadership, respect and charisma of their greatest star Lev Yashin in the team, and went into decline.

Stay tuned to this section of Lev Yashin biography as we will share some information about his career with the USSR national football team.

Soviet National Team

He was a charismatic role model for the Communist Party leaders, where he was a member. No longer a stranger to the football world when he won Olympic gold at the 1956 Games, he rose to international fame following the 1958 World Cup.

He demonstrated one of his key characteristic skills to the West for the first time in the second group match against


, which had finished third in the previous World Cup: He saved a penalty without giving away a rebound, and the Soviets eventually won 2-0.

Despite the resulting chaos in the Soviet defence in the next match, which was the first in the world to face


and Garrincha together, the USSR goalkeeper survived, conceding only two goals - with the same duo later scoring five against the more respectful


and hosts



Following the game against Brazil, the USSR was forced to take a play-off against England to determine their place in the knockout rounds.

Yet Yashin was the star of the match in keeping off the English pressure after the Soviet goal, which was the only one of the match. This performance, in fact, was exactly what would earn him fame among football fans and Westerners in general. Nevertheless, this extra game fatigued the Soviets, and they did not have much strength to defeat the hosts Sweden in the next quarter-final.

The first European Cup of Nations (Euro Cup) took place two years later. In Paris, the USSR managed to secure a place among the four teams that would contest the final phase of the tournament. Moreover, the 1960 European Nations Cup ended in the hands of the Russians after a difficult extra-time victory against Yugoslavia: the opposition team attacked more, but the Soviets scored both goals in a counter-attack, causing their opponents to lose their heads.

Their participation in the following

World Cup

was secured largely due to the goalkeeper, who was crucial to their qualification, in a head-to-head against


in Istanbul; with his experience and coolness being crucial in keeping the Soviet team in check after the Turks had tied the game six minutes after the USSR's goal, which had the advantage of a draw and was under pressure until five minutes from the end when they were able to score their second goal and win the game.

Yet, following the tournament, his reputation was damaged, as his side were knocked out once again in the quarter-finals by the Chileans, the hosts.

This time it was due to two individual errors by Lev Yashin: in the first, expecting an opponent's free-kick to go in two touches - which would not have been the case - as the shot from which it came had been an obstruction, he did not react and the ball went into his left corner. The next happened just a minute after the Soviet equaliser, where he was late on a low shot from outside the area.

Nevertheless, he retained enough respect to be selected to defend the goal the following year for the Rest of the World team that played England in a match that marked the centenary of The Football Association.

In 1963, he was also presented with the Ballon d'Or, becoming the first (and, to this day, only) goalkeeper to be awarded France Football's prestigious prize for best player in Europe. One year later, his reputation was somewhat boosted as the Soviet Union again made it to the final of the UEFA European Championship in the second edition of the tournament.

But eventually, the 1964 European Nations Cup would go to hosts


. The 1964 Olympics took place the same year, and although favourite to win in football, USSR did not participate.

With the 1966 FIFA World Cup approaching, Yashin's memories of 1962 were still bitter, despite his trouble-free qualification for the finals. He started against Italy in the group stage, and at 37 years of age was rested for the opening game against Korea DPR, and against


, as the USSR had already secured qualification, giving way to substitute Anzor Kavazashvili.

He returned to goal in the quarter-finals against Hungary, and established himself as the man of the match, making a handful of superb saves. The Soviets were knocked out in their next match, the semi-final against West Germany, and also lost the third-place play-off to


, but Lev Yashin was once again the Black Spider.

Once again, the Soviet Union made it to the last four at the 1968 European Championship, but they were frustrated to lose their place in the final on a coin toss, following a goalless draw against eventual champions


. At the time, a penalty shootout was not yet used after the extra time and the play-off was no longer adopted.

Meanwhile, Yashin, who was approaching forty years old and about to retire, handed over the goal to his replacement Kavazashvili. Yashin went to the 1970 FIFA World Cup as a reserve goalkeeper and never played a match.

The year after, he retired from football for good. Missing magic or not, after bidding farewell to football, the Soviet Union would not be able to compete in the World Cup for another 12 years.

Following his retirement, Yashin went on to coach youth teams and serve as a physical education teacher, besides working at the technical committees of Dynamo and the national team. Stay tuned to this section of

Lev Yashin biography

as we will share some information about his playing style.

Style of Play

Yashin was a versatile goalkeeper, capable of maintaining high levels of performance throughout his 22-year career. His strong physical skills and impressive reflexes enabled him to cover the goal effectively as well as making highly difficult interventions.

Nevertheless, his style was simple: unwilling to make flashy dives, he preferred to keep to the essentials and positioning. He was also very good in exits, and gifted a strong ability to save penalties: during his career, he is estimated to have stopped 86, or even a hundred according to other sources.

Sandro Mazzola, whose penalty was blocked by Yashin during the qualifications for the 1964 European Championship, says: "I felt hypnotized. When I got a running start I saw that he jumped to the right: I had the opportunity to shoot the other way, but I couldn't do it. On that day my shot went where Yashin wanted it to go."

Blessed with outstanding charisma and personality, Yashin was regarded as an innovator in the role: in fact, he was some of the first to lead his team's defensive line and play as an added libero, thus expanding his range beyond the penalty area and participating actively in the construction of the game. A number of the most iconic of Yashin's opponents, such as Pelé and


, also spoke glowing words of praise for the Soviet number 1's personal qualities.


Lev Yashin is considered by many football fans and critics to be the best goalkeeper in the history of football. in the history of football, Yashin is the one and the only goalkeeper to win the Golden Ball award for his outstanding performances. Yashin was named in the FIFA Dream Team of World Cup history in 2002, despite the fact that, ironically, he was never named the best goalkeeper of any edition of the World Cup.

Lev Yashin outside Football

He began his career as an ice hockey goalkeeper in the tool factory team he was working for in the midst of the Second World War and decided at the age of fourteen to become a football goalkeeper.

In addition to football and hockey, Lev Yashin also played many other sports such as fencing, basketball, boxing, tennis and water polo. In 1986 he had his leg amputated after suffering from phlebitis and died in 1990 from stomach cancer.

Lev Yashin Personal Life

In this section of Lev Yashin biography, we will take a look into his personal life, sharing some information about things like

Lev Yashin religion


Lev Yashin life story


Family, Children and Relationships

Lev Yashin was married to Valentina Timofeevna for many years. His first daughter Irina works for Aeroflot and is married to Sergei Frolov. The couple gave birth to a son Vasily. His second daughter Elena, like her older sister, is employed by Aeroflot. She is married and has a daughter Natasha and 2 grandchildren.

Vasily (born February 22, 1986), who is the grandson of Lev Yashin, played for many clubs as a goalkeeper; in 2009 he retired from playing football, and then started a career as a physical education teacher and later coached a children's football team.


During his playing days and even after retiring from playing football, Lev Yashin has always been an active part of many charitable works in Russia.

Legal Issues

There are no reports of any legal issues or disputes regarding the legendary Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin in the Russian or English media.

Lev Yashin Career Statistics

In this section of Lev Yashin biography, we will take a look into the player’s career on the international and club level. Stay tuned.


For 20 years between 1950 and 1970, Lev Yashin was playing for Dynamo Moscow, where he appeared in a total of 326 league matches.


Four years after starting his playing career, Lev Yashin was called up to represent the Soviet Union. In 16 years of playing for the national team, he made a total of 74 international appearances.

Lev Yashin Honors

With his club, Yashin was able to win Soviet Top League on five occasions and the Soviet Cup three times. On the international side, he has won the UEFA European Football Championship and the 1956 Olympic Games Gold Medal.

Yashin has won many individual awards, which most notable of them includes European Goalkeeper of the Year, USSR Goalkeeper of the Year, Ballon d'Or, FIFA XI, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, FIFA Goalkeeper of the 20th Century and many others.

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