“I couldn’t stand to be watched with the ball”: Who was the woman next to the greatest goalkeeper in the USSR

This week Valentina Timofeevna Yashina died – the widow of the USSR goalkeeper №1 and football legend Lev Yashin.

The widow of the great Dinamo Moscow player (and still the only goalkeeper with a “Golden Ball” on her account) has passed away at the age of 91.

On this occasion, we tell you the story of their great love, which lasted four decades.

Their acquaintance is a typical Soviet romance, involving skating and dancing.

“He lived in Tushino, and so did I,” says Valentina.

“We girls went to watch the local players from the factory team play. We knew there was one named Yashin, but we didn’t know each other yet. In the winter we went to the ice rink and it turned out that he was watching me. I didn’t. she noticed, but then he said to me, “Do you remember skating there?”

In those years, Tushino was still a suburb and not part of Moscow.

“We met to dance. He had already joined the Dynamo team. When he was included in the first team, he was even announced on the radio – there was no TV yet. And everyone here knew that our Yashin played for Dynamo,” recalls Valentina Timofeevna .

“But in his second game he scored four goals in one half against Tbilisi and although Dynamo won the game, they sent him to the backup team for another two and a half years.”

“That’s why Leo came to Tushino, where his parents still lived. And one day a player from the factory team showed up to tell us, ‘Girls, Yashin is coming.’ Do you want me to introduce you? “My girlfriend and I said, ‘Yes, we do.’

Yashin and Valentina married in 1954, when he was 25 and she was 24. The wife tells about the wedding in a joking tone.

“They went to Switzerland with Dynamo and Lev brought me a real Swiss watch from there. His friend Vova Shabrov brought the same for his girlfriend, but she didn’t stay with him, she took her watch. Maybe I should have divorced Leo too, I shouldn’t have. to get married … But it would be a pity for the watch. I hadn’t had a watch before. “

“If we had separated, I should have given it back to him, not like that Shabrovska, because my conscience would have bothered me. At the same time, I would have felt sorry to give it back. In general, he just came and said, ‘I’m already set the date. I told my grandmother, I told everyone that we would get married on New Year’s Eve. “I said,” Well, then we’ll get married and then we’ll see. “

Valentina gave birth to Yashin’s two children – daughters Irina and Elena. Fortunately, jokes before scandals predominate in the family.

Lev Yashin was world famous for his cap

We never had a big quarrel. We didn’t blame each other – although sometimes there was a reason. When one got angry with the other, he stopped talking to him, but we couldn’t last long without talking. The next day we talked. “It was as if nothing had happened. Lev could not be silent for long. The one who was guilty was the first to speak,” Valentina said.

She reveals that Yashin prefers official events to parties and festivities.

The wife remembers meeting Pele for the first time during the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Then the nationals of the USSR and Brazil share the same hotel.

“I went to the hotel, I could only enter through the back entrance. Leo met me and we went upstairs up the fire escape, where all the players were smoking.”

Coincidentally, a 17-year-old boy passed us, Pele. Leo grabbed his collar to stop him and told me, “Look, meet the future football star.” We met and Pele ran away. many more times because she and Leo became very close friends, “Valentina recalls.

Yashin died in 1990 at the age of 60, and after his death Valentina continued to attend public events related to football and her legendary husband.

Yashina has appeared at events related to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and three years earlier celebrated with Dynamo Moscow the renaming of the club’s stadium.

Unsurprisingly, the facility is already named after Lev Yashin, called the Black Spider and the Black Panther during his career because of his incredible door reflexes.

Fans in the USSR broke his house and booed him in the stadiums, but the Black Spider took "The golden ball"

Although she always supports her husband, she can’t wait to watch his matches and rarely goes to the stadium. It is difficult to withstand even the warm-up.

“What I saw in the warm-up lasted a lifetime. I couldn’t even stand it all and left. Then my husband asked me, ‘Where did he go?’ is this for residence? “

“The whole team lined up to aim at him with all their might. And Leo had had a stomach ulcer since the war. Either because of overload or because of malnutrition. Realize what life was like then …”

In April this year, the widow of what is considered by many to be the greatest goalkeeper in the history of football appeared at another memorable event.

Valentina Yashina presented a special award to the current goalkeeper of Dynamo Moscow Anton Shunin.

The captain of the team also already has a legendary status and his career passes in a similar way to that of his great predecessor.

Shunin is a junior of Dynamo and spent his entire career at the club – and he received the award when he crossed the line of 100 dry nets at the door of Muscovites and thus joined the club “Yashin”.

“For generations of Dynamo players, she was a true symbol of our club, the personification of the greatest football family in the history of our football,” Dynamo Moscow wrote after the death of Valentina Timofeevna.

Dynamo told how when she last appeared at the stadium to reward Shunin, people got to their feet to applaud her.

“We say goodbye to this unique, amazing woman,” the club said in a statement.

Only Yashin could compete with him, but he got drunk and was killed with a bottle in his head