Valeriy Lobanovskyi

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Валерий Лобановский, Валерій Васильович Лобановський, Valeriy Lobanovskyi, Valeriy Vasylyovych Lobanovskyi, Wałerij Wasylowycz Łobanowśkyj
Coach, Football player, Hero of nation
Kiev, Baikove Cemetery

Valeriy Vasylyovych Lobanovskyi (Ukrainian: Вале́рій Васи́льович Лобано́вський, Valerij Vasyl’ovyč Lobanovs’kyj [vɑˈlɛrɪj lobɑˈnɔwsʲkɪj]; Russian: Вале́рий Васи́льевич Лобано́вский, Valeriy Vasilyevich Lobanovskiy [vɐˈlʲerʲɪj vɐˈsʲilʲɪvʲɪt͡ɕ ləbɐˈnofskʲɪj]; 6 January 1939 – 13 May 2002) was a Soviet-Ukrainian football manager. He was the Master of Sports of USSR, the Distinguished Coach of USSR, and the laureate of the UEFA Ruby Order (2002).

Lobanovskyi is most famous for his spells managing FC Dynamo Kyiv, the Ukraine national football team, and earlier the USSR national football team. In 1975 his Dynamo Kyiv team became the first side from the Soviet Union to win a major European trophy when they beat Hungarian side Ferencváros in the final of the Cup Winners' Cup. Lobanovskyi is highly esteemed for his achievements as a coach but also notorious for his both highly scientific and excessively disciplinarian approach to management.


Playing career

Lobanovskyi is a graduate of the Kiev football school #1 and the Football School of Youth (Kiev). He began his playing career as a left winger with Dynamo Kyiv, his hometown club, whilst with the side he won both the USSR league and cup. He spent seven years with the club before finishing his career with brief spells at Chornomorets Odessa, and Shakhtar Donetsk. Lobanovskyi ended his playing career at the age of 29 having scored 71 goals in 253 games. He also earned two full caps for the Soviet Union and played in two Olympic games. Lobanovskyi played his first international game on September 4, 1960 away against Austria. He is most famous for his legendary ability to score from corner kicks and his ability to curve the ball and place it wherever he pleased; his immense fame gained from this led him to take over as a coach for Dynamo Kiev.

Managerial career

A year after retiring as a player Lobanovskyi was named as the manager of FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. After four relatively unremarkable years with Dnipro, Lobanovskyi moved to his former club, Dynamo Kyiv, before the start of the 1974 season, he would manage the side for 15 of the next 17 years (he spent 1983–1984 managing the USSR). During these two spells Kyiv were successful in breaking the Russian dominance of Soviet football. Lobanovskyi led his side to the Soviet super league eight times, the cup six times, the European Cup Winners' Cup of 1975 and 1986, and European Super Cup of 1975.

Lobanovskyi also spent three spells managing the Soviet Union during this period. He took the side to the bronze medal in the 1976 Summer Olympics during his first spell. However, it was his third, and last, spell with the side that he gained the most attention. He was asked to manage the side on the eve of the 1986 World Cup. The side, which consisted mainly of his own Dynamo Kyiv players, finished top of their group, but were knocked out in the second round by Belgium 4–3 after extra time. The team did, however, achieve far greater success at the 1988 European Championship. The team again finished top of their group, beating the Netherlands on the way. However, they played the Netherlands again in the final and failed to repeat their previous victory.

Following perestroika many of Lobanovskyi's best players, for both club and country, left the USSR to play in Western Europe. Going into the 1990 World Cup he couldn't call upon his own Kyiv players to form the core of the side as he had previously done. His subsequent lack of ability to completely control his side led to the team finishing bottom of their group.

Following the debacle of the World Cup, Lobanovskyi decided to leave Dynamo Kyiv and take up the lucrative offer of managing the United Arab Emirates national football team. After four relatively lacklustre years he was sacked and went on to spend the next two years managing the Kuwait national football team, before he was again sacked.

In January 1997, Lobanovskyi returned to manage Dynamo Kyiv for a third time. The club by this time had fallen somewhat from their former heights. The club had been thrown out of European competition by UEFA following attempts to bribe an official, and the club was also struggling somewhat in the league. Lobanovskyi, however, managed to turn the club around quickly. Aside from leading the team to five consecutive championships, Lobanovskyi managed to turn the side into one of the best sides in Europe, reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League in 1999. He was made manager of the Ukraine national side in March 2000, but was sacked after the side lost a playoff to reach the 2002 World Cup to Germany.

Lobanovskyi suffered a stroke on 7 May 2002, shortly after his Dynamo Kyiv side had beaten FC Metalurh Zaporizhzhya. He died on 13 May, during brain surgery, following complications suffered after the stroke. At the Champions League final in Glasgow two days later, UEFA held a minute's silence in his honour.


Following his death Lobanovskyi was awarded the title Hero of Ukraine, the nation's highest honour. Dynamo Kyiv's stadium was also renamed the Lobanovsky Stadium in his honour.

Lobanovskyi was buried at Baikove Cemetery where an impressive monument surrounds his tomb.

After his death, A.C. Milan won the Champions League in 2003 with Andriy Shevchenko in the team. After the victory Shevchenko flew to Kyiv to put his medal by the grave of his former manager.

In 2005 the Valeri Lobanovsky Memorial Tournament was founded.

Personal life

Lobanovskyi was married to Ada Lobanovskaya, the couple had a daughter named Svitlana. She owns a restaurant in Kiev called "U metrá" (English: "The Master's").


Player Dynamo Kyiv
  • Soviet Top League (1): 1961
  • Soviet Cup (1): 1964
Manager Dynamo Kyiv
  • UEFA Cup Winners Cup (2): 1975, 1986
  • UEFA Super Cup (1): 1975
  • Soviet / Ukrainian national leagues (13): 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
  • Soviet / Ukrainian cup competitions (9): 1974, 1978, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2000
  • USSR Super Cup (3): 1980, 1985, 1986
  • Commonwealth of Independent States Cup (2): 1997, 1998


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