Valeriy Lobanovskyi, the man who powered Dynamo Kyiv

This day in football history


Iconic Dynamo Kyiv player and manager Valeriy Lobanovskyi was born on 6 January 1939. He would eventually guide Kyiv to the first major European honor for any Soviet club, winning the 1975 Cup Winners’ Cup.

Born in Kyiv, Lobanovskyi joined Dynamo’s youth team, then played there professionally from 1957 to 1964. He was a prolific scorer, especially from set pieces, tallying 42 goals in 144 league appearances for his hometown team while winning the club’s first Soviet Cup (1954) and league title (1961). He retired from playing in 1968, after two seasons each with Chornomorets Odessa and Shakhtar Donetsk.

He moved quickly into management, taking charge of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in 1969 before Dynamo called him back in 1974. There, his then-novel scientific approach to training and diet helped the club to European victory in his first season, beating Ferencváros in the 1975 Cup Winners’ Cup.

Lobanovskyi remained with Dynamo until 1990 (taking a brief break in 1982–83 to manage the Soviet national team). During his tenure, they won eight league titles, six Soviet Cups, and the 1986 Cup Winners’ Cup. He returned again in 1997 and picked up where he had left off, winning five consecutive Ukrainian Premier League titles and advancing to the semifinals of the 1998–99 UEFA Champions League.

In 2002, he suffered a stroke after a match and died one week later. In tribute to his service, Dynamo renamed their stadium in his honor.