Lev Ivanovich Yashin

Legendary Russian Federation Footballer
  • Date of Birth
  • October 22, 1929
  • Place of Birth
  • Moscow, Soviet Union
  • Height
  • 189 cm (6 ft 2 in)
  • Playing Position
  • Goalkeeper

Lev Ivanovich Yashin (Russian: Лев Ива́нович Я́шин, 22 October 1929 – 20 March 1990), nicknamed the “Black Spider” or the “Black Panther”, was a Soviet-Russian football goalkeeper, considered by many to be the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game.[2] He was known for his athleticism in goal, imposing stature and reflex saves.[3] He was also deputy chairman of the Football Federation of the Soviet Union.

Yashin earned iconic status for revolutionizing the goalkeeping position by stamping his authority on the entire defence.[3][4] He shouted orders at his defenders, came off his line to intercept crosses and also ran out to meet onrushing attackers, done at a time when goalkeepers spent the 90 minutes standing in the goal waiting to be called into action.[3][4] His performances made an indelible impression on a global audience at the 1958 World Cup, the first to be broadcast internationally. He dressed head to toe in black, thus earning his nickname the ‘Black Spider’, which enhanced his popularity.[3][4]

Yashin appeared in four World Cups from 1958 to 1970, and in 2002 was chosen on the FIFA Dream Team of the history of World Cups. In 1994 he was chosen for the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, and in 1998 was chosen a member of the World Team of the 20th Century. He made over 150 penalty saves and kept over 270 clean sheets in his career, winning a gold medal at the 1956 Olympic football tournament, and the 1960 European Championships.[5] In 1963, Yashin received the Ballon d’Or, the only goalkeeper ever to receive the award.[3] He was voted the best goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS.


Yashin was born in Moscow to a family of industrial workers. At twelve years of age, the Second World War forced him to turn to factory work to aid in the war effort. He was sent to work in a military factory in Moscow, where he played for its football team. It was there that he was spotted and invited to join the Dynamo Moscow youth team.