Igor Belanov Joined Ukraine Military
Photo: MARCA

At 61, the former striker Igor Belanov wore the colors of the Soviet Union in the 80s took up arms to defend his country.

Igor Belanov has joined the long list of Ukrainian athletes to take up arms to defend their country. Ukrainian media and the German newspaper Die Welt revealed that the former striker of Dynamo Kiev and Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany) in the 80s and early 90s had volunteered to inflate the local defense forces in Odessa, the city in which he was born in 1960.

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On social networks, a photo is circulating showing Belanov, in combat gear and armed in hand (left in the photo above), in the company of three compatriots also engaged and posing in a trench.

Other photos show the legend of Ukrainian football, always dressed in khaki, signing soccer balls.

I played for the USSR with pride, and today I can’t believe my eyes in the face of this war. I met Shoigu (the Russian Minister of Defense, Editor’s note).

If I saw him today, I would ask him if he is crazy and if he has lost his sense of reality,” he said recently, calling for an end to the fighting.

Igor Belanov: legend of Dynamo Kiev

Igor Belanov, who before the start of the war ran a football training center in Odessa, single-handedly illustrates the success of football in the former Eastern bloc in the 80s. In 1985, he joined Dynamo Kiev, with whom he won the Cup Winners’ Cup (ex-C3).

In the same year, he won the Soviet Championship before doubling the stake a year later. That same year, he scored the 1986 World Cup in Mexico by scoring four goals (including a hat-trick against Belgium in the 8th final) with five assists.

Performances that had allowed him to be designated Ballon d’Or, when the trophy only rewarded European players, ahead of Gary Lineker and Emilio Butragueño.

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