084. Oleg Blokhin
Oleg Blokhin was one of the greatest strikers in the world throughout the 1970s, hitting the target reguarly through a period of great success at his hometown club Dynamo Kiev and becoming the greatest goalscorer in the history of the Soviet League. Only the regime in the Soviet Union prevented him from moving abroad to play in Europe’s strongest leagues.
Blokhin’s career with Dynamo Kiev started when he was just a teenager, and he was still in his teens when he won his first Soviet League Championship medal in 1971. Throughout the early 1970s, he was unmatched as a goalscorer in the Soviet league, finishing top scorer for four years in a row between 1972 and 1975. After Dynamo had won the league and cup double in 1974, Blokhin led them to another title a year later alongside the European Cup Winners’ Cup, and was named European Footballer of the Year for 1975.
By this time he was leading the attack for the Soviet national team, having played in the Olympic Games of 1972 and 1976 and won two bronze medals. Blokhin’s first appearance in a major championship had to wait until the 1982 World Cup in Spain, by which time he had won another three championships and two Soviet Cups. He played all five games for the U.S.S.R. in that World Cup as they bowed out in the second group stage.
The mid 1980s brought several more domestic trophies for Blokhin, as well as a second Cup Winners’ Cup in 1986. He also played in the 1986 World Cup but appeared in only two out of the Soviet team’s four games. With his career coming to an end and more freedom of movement for Soviet citizens, he left Dynamo in 1988 to spend a year with Vorwärts Steyr in Austria, before ending his playing career in Cyprus with Aris Limassol. He finished his career as the all-time record goalscorer in the Soviet League, with 211 goals for Dyanmo Kiev.
Having retired from playing, Blokhin became a coach in Greece, winning the Greek Cup in 1992 with Olympiakos, and also coaching PAOK Salonika, Ionikos and AEK Athens. Having taken time to pursue a political career in the Ukraine, in 2003 he became coach of the Ukranian national team. Given the task of leading them to the 2006 World Cup, Blokhin led his country into a first ever major finals where they reached the last eight. In 2007 he left the national team and moved to Russia to coach FC Moscow.