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Ballon d’Or organisers introduce goalkeeper award

Lev Yashin kept goal for the Soviet Union at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. He played in two more World Cups and was in the squad in 1970 © SCANPIX SWEDEN/AFP/File / STAFF

PARIS, France, Sep 19 – A Ballon d’Or award for goalkeepers will be handed out for the first time this year, the organisers, France Football magazine, announced on Thursday.

The Yashin Trophy will be named after the Soviet international, Lev Yashin, the only goalkeeper to have won the Ballon d’Or itself.

The Ballon d’Or for best male player was first awarded in 1956, to Stanley Matthews. It is voted on by journalists. Last year, an award for best female player was added. It was won by Norway’s Ada Hegerberg.

A shortlist for the prizes in the three categories will be announced on October 21.

This year’s winners will be revealed in a ceremony on December 2.

The Ballon d’Or also served as the FIFA player of the year award from 2010-15 but was then replaced by the governing body’s The Best awards in 2016.

A Moscow native who played 21 seasons with local outfit Dynamo, Yashin won the Ballon d’Or in 1963 and was revered in his day as the world’s finest ‘keeper.

With the Soviet team he was in goal at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 for a 1-0 win over Yugoslavia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Starting out as a hockey goaltender Yashin, often sporting a flat cap and dressed from head to toe in black, helped the Soviets to their greatest victory in 1960, winning the inaugural European Championship 2-1 after extra-time.

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He would also take part in four World Cups and later worked in various roles at Dynamo Moscow and for the Soviet sports ministry.

Sadly in the mid 1980s, he contracted phlebitis and had to have one of his legs amputated. More misery followed when Yashin was diagnosed with stomach cancer and he died in March 1990 aged 60.

He held the rank of colonel in the Red Army and was awarded the prestigious Order of Lenin, the highest civilian award in the USSR and obtained a degree from the Higher Institute of the Soviet Communist Central Committee.

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