He won the Ballon d’Or that should have been given to Maradona in 1986 and today he accompanies the Ukrainian soldiers who repel the Russian invasion


Igor Belánov with the Ballon d’Or won in 1986 and today in the trench (on the left)

The story of Igor Belanov is well known and not just because it was who won the Ballon d’Or in 1986but because that award should have been given to Diego Armando Maradona for his conquest in the World Cup in Mexico. A special regulation that governed at the time It allowed the then Soviet Union striker to win one of the most precious trophies for any footballer.

Back then, Fluff He had no rival on the field of play. The problem was that only European players could receive the award and that is why the Ukrainian scorer was the most voted ahead of the English gary lineker and the spanish Emilio Butragueno. “I was the best in Europe. Maradona, the best in the world”commented in an interview with EFE in telephone conversation. That regulation in the Ballon d’Or continued until 1995 and the first non-European to win it was the Liberian Jorge Weah in said year.

In this opportunity, The legendary Ukrainian soccer player is in the news for the support he gives his soldiers against the Russian invasion. Belanov is the co-chairman of the Professional Football Committee of the Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) and a few days ago he appeared with the Odessa defenders, visiting them personally and giving them memorable gifts.

“A meeting like this is very inspiring. I sincerely wanted to tell the boys how much the whole country now admires them, especially our children, for whom every defender is a guardian angel. Now we are all trying to do something useful for them, to help and express our support,” Igor acknowledged last month.

In the images provided by the UAF, it can be seen the happiness of the military to meet the legend of Ukrainian football and receive such words of support in this difficult time they are going through.

“I thank the soldiers for a very warm meeting and friendly conversation that lasted more than two hours. I especially liked that even at such a busy time, when there are still a few hours to sleep, they do not lose interest in football. Many asked, they were interested in how football will develop after our victory. They asked about the world and European championships, for example. For my part, I brought them balls as a gift from the Ukrainian Football Association and tried to load them with even more positive,” Belanov continued.

And I add: “It felt like the guys were real fighters. It was agreed that next time I would bring them my Ballon d’Or. Many fighters will gather, including many fans and even footballers. I express my deep gratitude to our soldiers for their bravery in the fight against the Russian occupiers. We are proud of them!”

These words were 21 days after the invasion of Russia. Igor Belanov highlighted the large number of volunteers in the military registration and enlistment office. “The boys rush into battle to defend Ukraine! Both old and very young. Some even come with their weapons. Is awesome! I am proud of our Ukraine!” valued.

In the last few hours, the image of Igor Belanov with soldiers in the trench has gone viral and inspired many who fight every day on the battlefield.


The story of Igor Belánov, the Ukrainian who won the Ballon d’Or in 1986: why they didn’t give it to Diego Maradona
Controversy over the millionaire auction of the alleged shirt that Maradona wore against England in 1986: “They are lying”