The famous defender of Kiev “Dynamo” continues to share the most vivid episodes from his career.
When I am asked – tell us about that match, and tell me about this, I often respond that I do not remember, it is absolutely not disingenuous. Don’t really remember.
Just enough of these matches, and not very important that they merged into one big endless game…
And I recently sent a bunch of old photos. Revised … And a memory. Vividly like it was yesterday.
1997. November. Spain. Barcelona. Champions League.
We arrived for the return game. Before that in Kiev beat Barcelona with 3:0. The Spanish press is buzzing about the big rematch everyone is waiting for our defeat. Take us to Barcelona, to be honest. The bus is not already served one and a half hours sitting in the airport. Around is turmoil – came indignant with us journalists, administrators, functionaries of the club, all who flew with us. Outraged not only Valery, he is unflappable as always. The bus still lodged in two hours.
Arrive at training – and the field where the game will be not allowed. Give some left, though, and in the “Nou camp”, but just a field. Well at least not artificial. It is nonsense, before such a game does not give the field for training – this does no normal European club does not allow. According to the regulations are required to give one game on the field, according to the unspoken etiquette – so a minimum of two or three, and then some nonsense… well, No, in Ukraine, often it happens that before the match with Dynamo field, not cleaned, not groomed, bus or non-refrigerated cold gave, in the hope that we will be playing, but to deal with this in Barcelona as well, did not expect. A club of world level, but here as small children, her God.
Going further, on the “Nou camp” we were not allowed. Vasilich even eyebrow does not lead. This is not a concern of the coach and fields to do. He always believed that everyone needs to do their job, coach, administrators and functionaries. Looking down on him, completely calm, really, everyone has their own thing, something which we bathe, from us it does not depend on… I’ll say even more – we not especially understood something goes wrong. Practice as usual, without nerves.
The naive Catalans. We, unlike the European athletes, has experience of playing in the Ukrainian League! And this, in the late nineties, often densely the lack of hot water in the locker rooms . And fields of ice, where hockey you can play, not soccer… And the bus is late or broken – did not surprise us. Ha… That they are still in the hotel “Sport” never lived… no Matter what city. Those in the Ukraine, played – hard to ruffle.
Training at the camp Nou was still. After our staged huge scandal. And there it became clear – the game will not be easy. The stadium is as it were in a depression in the crater, the air is, to play very hard. Entered the field in windbreakers, jackets – everything was removed, it got really hot.
Before the game, dizzy. Don’t know the difference in pressure or heat impact, but it was so bad, I didn’t know where they are. Although it may be, and jitters were evident. I have always been so – if the responsible game, the jitters before the game kicks so that your legs. Just whistle whistled – all as a hand removes. And here, for example, Alexander Shovkovskiy – that on the contrary, before the game calm, and after the whistle is started. Well, he’s a goalkeeper, he needs…
The bleachers roared. So, as sick in Barcelona, suffer few places in the world. The Catalans do love their team, almost idolized her players.
A meter away from each other, nothing was heard. Incidentally, in such matches usually only used gestures to speak or to shout is useless, anyway no one will hear.
Running past me, Vitaly Kosovo shouted: “You how?” I said, “Yes kapets just…”
And whistle whistled. Immediately began than to breathe, consciousness has cleared up. Like in other mode is switched. When the first touch took the ball away and I knew we’d win.
Each player has their signs for luck. Newevery players does not happen, to be honest, no matter what someone did not say. To tell about such things are usually not accepted, is considered to be will cease to work. I’m not playing, so that you can. Someone’s boots on the left begins to wear, someone shaved, someone eating in certain places, someone t-shirt does not change… there is a particularly perverse form of football superstitions, but this is a personal matter. I have also had their own troubles. If the first touch early in the game the ball away – the game is winning will be. Worked almost a hundred times out of a hundred.
Most interesting is fear then the opponent did not exist. Did not care who we play, were so confident in their abilities. Figo, Rivaldo, Sergi – we still stronger.
Don’t know what to do with us Vasilich, as it took us so configured, but we clearly felt like a single entity. I will say more. We felt like family. Yes we were family.
Lived together, all the time spent together, vacationing together. It is clear that there was competition even within the team, but no one is tripped, they helped each other. Almost all children of each other crossed, the friends Who become… something more communicated with each other, some less, but others were not, all their own. Therefore, the field was easy. One word – team.
When Sheva scored the first, then second, it understood that courage has gone. Asked penalty to hit, immediately gave a penalty although we usually always Sergei Rebrov to beat. A hat-trick. The break left to the applause of the stadium.
In the locker room Vasilich said, “do Not relax. Forget the first half. Play.” Gathered. The fourth goal Sergei Rebrov rolled under the applause of both his and the Catalan fans.
When I rung the final whistle – I thought of the joy’ll all go crazy. 4:0!!! The whole stadium waving white handkerchiefs, the fans of “Barcelona” show thus discontent with the team . White handkerchiefs – this is a purely Catalan theme, a symbol of confidence in the coach, a symbol of protest or indignation about something. Shawls are often handed out at the entrance to the arena, many of them just pocket wear. They say football white handkerchiefs came in from bullfighting.
And then the whole stadium, without exception, begins to applaud us. Fans are expressing thus his admiration for our game. We have never seen, and in Europe, very often there are such cases. Held hands, walked up to his podium to thank the fans, lifted the wave – and it seems that all around the stadium went. Someone else’s stadium!!! The stadium of the enemy!!! And applause does not cease. Yeah, leaving the applause, we were not together, but at the end of the us stadium all paid off…
I don’t know what words to Express feelings. When this experience – do not care at all. Injuries, money, in a frantic competition to any other football problem… it’s moments like these should go to the football. For the sake of such moments worth living. And then I always learned my lesson the harder it starts, the easier it is later. Applause should be at the end, not the beginning. Then everything goes right. And it’s not just in football.