This year marks the thirty-year anniversary of the goal that Alexander Mostovoy scored against Metalist Kharkiv with Spartak Moscow, beating half of the opposing team in the penalty area. This ball is still considered one of the most spectacular in the history of national football. Alexander Mostovoy told the weekly Football about how he remembered that goal, and also speculated about where the individual skill comes from.

Super goal “Metalist”

– Do you remember your super goal to Metalist?
– You and your colleagues helped me remember. (Laughs) I remembered the goal – I presented the approximate time frame. Once we played with Metalist in the arena, it means somewhere in April (April 21, 1990). But I did not associate it with a specific date. And in general, that ball did not really stand out for himself.

– Why?
– Out of 164 goals at the highest level, about 30 I turned out to be very beautiful. In Europe, after a solo run, I scored 6-7 times. Moreover, the dribbling there was even more meaningful than in the game “Spartak” – “Metalist” (6: 0) in “Olimpiyskiy”.

Approaching the penalty area in that match, did you decide in advance to play in an original way?
– Not! The desire to “cheat so many rivals came spontaneously – during the episode. Although if you look at it in its entirety, then I have played this way often, since childhood. If I came up with the ball to the penalty area from the side, then I never hit it at random. I entered the penalty area, cleaned it up for myself and further understood the situation.

– Did the big score somehow affect the desire to tinker with the ball?
– No way. Before that, I scored with the score 3: 0 and it was also very beautiful. It was one of my nicest head balls.

“Spartak”, in addition to the aesthetic style, also distinguished collectivity. Were such individual tricks encouraged?
– They were not banned or welcomed. The main principle of the Spartak game was timely transmission and quick opening. Having given the ball, you should have opened up immediately. If there is a free partner ahead, then you need to pass to him. During the analysis by Konstantin Beskov and Oleg Romantsev, we could analyze a five-minute episode for two and a half hours. When you held the ball with your partner open forward, the coaches “shoved” for it.

– Metalist’s goal was recognized first as the best in the tour, and then in the season. What prize was waiting for you?
– None. Now a footballer should become the best player of the match, and he is rewarded with valuable gifts. Then nothing was awarded for beautiful goals. When my goal was recognized as the best of the season, Football Review came to Spartak’s training session. Vladimir Pereturin interviewed me. This was my first on-camera interview.

– Confused?
– Not. Everything was calm and simple – an old microphone, one camera behind Pereturin. We spoke when the training had already begun. The guys teased, running behind their backs, saying: “I’ve already become a star, stop talking, go to the field already.” (Laughs) And I was worried about another matter before the interview.

– Which one?
– A few days before that I had to go to the hairdresser. I always had long hair, but that summer (1990) the USSR national team was headed by Anatoly Byshovets. He had strict requirements for his appearance: Anatoly Fedorovich said that one should come to the national team neat. Therefore, the guys with long hair asked for a haircut. There were three of them in Spartak – Vasya Kulkov, Igor Shalimov and me. For me, that moment became exciting – I was left without the usual head of hair. And this is how the first interview with the camera turned on.

Best Legionnaire, TV Picture, Dynamo Kiev

– Prizes for that goal were not awarded. What prize from Soviet football do you remember?
– This is no longer the Soviet era – I played in Spain. We had a nomination for the best legionnaire in Russia. That is, the best of those who perform in other countries. Strange, by the way, nomination – Russian footballers played in Europe, but they were not nominated for the title of the best player in the country. Only the best among the legionnaires. And once before the national team’s match at the Dynamo stadium, I was awarded a prize. A heavy piece of cast iron – I still dragged it back then. I still don’t know what kind of statuette it is, I have it at home. And in Spain 5 or 6 times he received a statuette with a huge letter “M”. The newspaper brand handed this laureates every month.

– Let’s go back to your Spartak career. What are the matches of 30 years ago now?
– The main difference is the broadcast picture. Today, football is shown by a dozen cameras, some of them are installed above the field! The picture from the podium is now also completely different – bright multi-colored – everything shimmers. At the same time, football was shown from one or two cameras. It looked completely different. Also because the field was dirty and the stands in the old stadiums looked dull. Football has taken a huge step forward in television. But I don’t understand when they say that football itself and the players have changed a lot.

– Haven’t they changed?
– Of course, great progress in pharmacology – now the recovery is more professional and effective. Something may have changed in tactics. But other? As I ran 60 meters, and today they are about to run. Nobody started running 60 meters in 3 seconds. And, for example, Dynamo Kiev played mobile football at the highest speeds back then, like the best teams today. I remember our matches with Kiev in the late 80s – how hard it was against! Their defender Anatoly Demyanenko moved forward, ran away from 5-6 of ours, after losing the ball he rushed back at the same speed and managed to develop the episode in time. And a few seconds later he flew forward again! Physically, Dynamo Kiev was amazingly ready 30 years ago.

Penalty training

– Let’s go back to your goal against Metalist. Why are there very few bright recognizable soloists in Russian football today?
– I agree, this is not enough. Therefore, when the Hulk came to us, he looked like a master from another planet. The Brazilian was often criticized for being greedy and keeping the ball for a long time. This criticism surprised me. Why would the Hulk immediately part with the ball, if he can beat three players, pull a few more on himself, pause and roll the ball into an empty net !? On the contrary, it should be encouraged. Why are there few individually strong players? Dribblers should be prepared from childhood. Observe, find. Not everyone is inclined to play individually, not everyone is given it. Such children should be encouraged and helped to develop their individual qualities, not forbidden! At the age of 10 I already played like this – I saw that other guys in the team could not solve episodes, took the ball, beat and scored myself. If it was forbidden, maybe I would be offended, quit football and went to hockey.

– Did you do it in parallel with football?
– Yes. I did well there, too. Until the age of 14, I combined hockey with football. Then it became impossible to combine.

– Many of your free-kick goals have become hits. Where does this skill come from?
– Diligent training. He has been honing his blow since childhood. And after training, and after school. I went to the school stadium, put the ball and beat for two hours. First on the left side, then on the right. Of course, I did not expect that at the age of 18 I would get to Spartak – I did not think about it at all then. I just saw that I was able to beat, and I liked to develop it. I wanted to learn how to hit even better.

-You crossed paths on the field with Zenit’s free throw master Yuri Zheludkov. His two goals against Spartak in the summer of 1984 predetermined Zenit’s first and only championship in the USSR Championship. Zheludkov’s partners say that he never trained free throws. Do you believe this?
– I doubt it. Without long special training, you can score, if you hit it for strength – you run away and, closing your eyes, “pierced” the wall. But Zheludkov scored not only on strength. His famous goals against Spartak in 1984 were more for execution. And to score on the technique, the blow must be placed. I think Yuri Zheludkov, if not in Zenit, then worked out the blow carefully before coming there. Perhaps still in football school.