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Eduard Streltsov, the "Russian Pele 'who spent five years in a gulag

Eduard Streltsov, the "Russian Pele 'who spent five years in a gulag

Feb 15, 2012, 6:14 AM 2

Eduard Streltsov, the "Russian Pele 'who spent five years in a gulag

The Torpedo Moscow striker was the greatest threat to Brazil in the Mundial'58 until he fell foul of the Soviet regime

Football | 05/02/2012 - 01:08 pm

Eduard Streltsov, in his later years as a player for Torpedo Moscow and after spending five years in a gulag Archive

In late May 1958, just a few days to start the World Cup in Sweden, the selection of the USSR was preparing for the finals in Tarasovka, a training area on the outskirts of Moscow. The combined Russian was one of the favorites for the final triumph after winning gold at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. His star was indisputable striker Eduard Streltsov Anatolievich , a 20 years he had been dominating the league for several seasons of his country with the Torpedo Moscow. On the night of May 25, however, the life of this famous football changed forever. dacha (country house). Ignoring the rules of selection, Streltsov accepted the invitation and appeared in the celebration along with two companions.It was the worst decision of his life. The next morning, was arrested and sent to a gulag , a prison camp anchored to the cold Siberia. They accused him of raping a woman named Marina Lebedeva. His reputation as Casanova and heavy drinker preceded him. And on the feast of Karahanov showed off his skills. The evidence of his crime, however, was unclear and the statements of witnesses, including that of Lebedeva, contradictory. Everything seemed a ploy to give a lesson to the front, something that years later would be confirmed. Shortly before the death of Streltsov, in July 1990 at age 53, the Soviet coach, Gavriil Kachalin said that the most senior Communist Party leaders were determined to punish the player and the police explained that even the leader of the country, Nikita Khrushchev, was personally involved in the matter. Our protagonist a character had always been uncomfortable for the Soviet regime. Had debuted in 1953 with 16 years in the First Division and quickly became a star. At 17 and was top scorer and he called the Russian team. Two separate hat-tricks were the baggage of their first two games with the USSR. In 1956 he became champion olímipico with Lev Yashin, the 'Black Spider', and began to receive pressure to accept a move to CSKA (the Army team ) or Dynamo (controlled by the KGB). Streltsov not only refused to accept the proposals of the Soviet leaders, but it emerged as a dangerous element to the regime. In the archives of the Communist Party retain documents that warned of a possible drop of the famous player, tempted by clubs in France and Sweden. Also considered a threat ideals of freedom, which began to sink in Russian adolescents. Some sources you point that Streltsov promised that may participate in the 1958 World Cup if he confessed the crime. And he would have accepted. What he got, however, was sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp described how well the writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn inThe Gulag Archipelago . It is also forbidden to return to play professionally. Pele, Garrincha, Didi, Vava, Zagallo and company swept Sweden. Brazilian group shared with the Soviet Union in the first phase, which was defeated 2-0. Both teams went to the quarter but the Russians could not overcome the hosts (2-0) while Streltsov was rotting in a prison. Hunger, cold and the constant beatings he received were now the main concerns of the great player of Torpedo Moscow. Five years later, on February 4, 1963, Streltsov was released. He took his time as a laborer in a factory and studying engineering. Although the passion for football was still inside.Why could not refuse to join the amateur team who had their co-workers. When people found out, the parties involved companies in which the great player always were followed by large crowds. Until the system again to let you pull the strings back into the ostracism. But this time, I left the backfire. Fans rioted, even threatened to burn down the field and chanted the name of Eduard Streltsov until the striker was allowed to participate in a meeting in which, in principle, had vetoed their participation. When Khrushchev was replaced by Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary of the Communist Party, Streltsov life returned to the road that never had to leave.Brezhnev received thousands of letters signed by asking to allow the " Russian Pele 'return to professional football. In 1965 the race was reborn Streltsov. Back in the ranks of his estimated Torpedo striker no longer had the vigor of his youth but retained all his wisdom. Was 28 and had lost his speed and fitness. But this does not stop him from carrying his team win, that same year, the second League and Cup history in 1968. He was also named Footballer of the year in the Soviet Union two consecutive seasons. Even back to the selection, which scored 28 goals in 35 games. Anatoly Karpov , former world chess champion, chaired a committee to clear the memory of Streltsov. He has no doubts: "It had become the best player in the world and would have been bigger than Pele." Can you imagine the duel between these two myths of the football World Cup 1958, 1962 and 1966?


It was at a party organized by the general  Eduard Karahanov en su   

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