The Original Black Panther - Lev Yashin
The original Black Panther – Lev Yashin
Almost 50 years before Marvel comics started using the name The Black Panther there was another.
Arguably the greatest goalkeeper of all time was a Russian called Lev Ivanovich Yashin (22nd October 1929 – 20thMarch 1990) who played for Dynamo Moscow in the 1950’s.
He was known for dressing head to toe in black, for his athleticism, positioning, stature, bravery and acrobatic reflex saves that earned him the nickname, The Black Panther.
He revolutionised the goalkeeping position by imposing his authority on the entire defence. At a time when goalkeepers spent 90 minutes on the goal line waiting for some action Lev was off his line, intercepting crosses and running out to meet attackers head on.
He was a pioneer in the position and is one of the first keepers to have begun the practice of the quick throw to begin a counter attack and the practice of clearing the ball in dangerous situations with a punch rather than trying to catch it.
During his career he appeared in four World Cups, won Olympic gold, the 1960 European Championships, saved more than 150 penalties during his career, kept over 270 clean sheets and is still the only keeper ever to have won the Ballon d’Or.