November 8, 2011 / 11:02 AM / 8 years ago

Soccer-Former Soviet great Ivanov dies after long illness

MOSCOW, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Former Soviet striker Valentin Ivanov died following a long illness on Tuesday, the Russian FA said. He was 76.

Ivanov helped the Soviet Union to their first major international title at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics after edging out Yugoslavia 1-0 in the final.

He was also a member of the team that won the first European championship in 1960 when they again beat Yugoslavia 2-1 in extra time in Paris, and finished runners-up in 1964, losing to Spain in the final.

The Moscow native, who would have turned 77 in two weeks, played in two World Cups and was the joint top scorer at the 1962 finals in Chile with four goals. He scored twice at the 1958 tournament in Sweden.

“He was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He had been sick for a long time,” Nikita Siminyan, Ivanov’s team mate on the 1956 Olympic team, told reporters.

Ivanov, who was awarded the UEFA Order of Merit, spent his entire playing career with one club, Torpedo Moscow, winning two Soviet league titles in 1960 and 1965 and Soviet Cup in 1960. He is still the club’s all-time leading scorer with 124 goals.

He later coached Torpedo to the league title in 1976.

Ivanov was married to famous gymnast Lidiya Kalinina after they first met during the 1956 Melbourne Games, where she also won gold as part of the Soviet women’s team. She repeated that feat at the Rome Olympics four years later.

His son, Valentin Ivanov Jr, was a FIFA referee, officiating at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where he was heavily criticised for handing out four red cards in a second-round match between Portugal and the Netherlands. (Writing by Gennady Fyodorov; editing by Peter Rutherford) To query or comment on this story email

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