The former Ballon d’Or joins the Ukrainian army


FFormer striker Igor Belanov, who won the Ballon d’Or in 1986, joined the Ukrainian military forces in his bid to help his country after the Russian invasion.

Belanov won eight titles at DynamoKievalso played for Borussia Moenchengladbach and Eintracht Braunschweig in the 1980s and 1990s.

Currently 61, one of three Ukrainian players to win the Ballon d’Or, along with Oleh Blokhin (1975) and Andre Shevchenko (2004), Belanov joined the army to protect Ukraine.

The former striker met with Ukrainian Football Association President Andriy Pavelko after the latter visited his hometown of Odessa last Wednesday. The two men spoke with various military groups and distributed aid and gifts.

Proud of his decision

Belanov posted a series of images of himself holding a gun and posing with other soldiers, taking to Facebook to praise Ukraine’s armed forces.

“Incredible courage and an inexhaustible fighting spirit,” he wrote.

“All this and much more characterizes our soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. We are with you.”

Victory over Atlético

Born in Odessa, Belanov began his professional career in his hometown with S.K.A. Odessa and Chornomorets Odessa. He would eventually represent the Soviet Union 33 times, scoring eight goals in five years after making his debut in 1985.

A year later, he was the surprise Ballon d’Or winner after helping DynamoKiev win the Cup Winners’ Cup after a 3-0 win over Atlético Madrid In the final.


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