Leonenko Viktor Evgenievich
Leonenko Viktor Evgenievich
Ukrainian football player, striker; sports commentator
Born on October 5, 1969 in Tyumen (Russian Federation). Pupil SDYUSSHOR “Geologist” Tyumen.
He played for the teams: “Geologist” Tyumen (1988–1991), Dynamo (Moscow) (1991–1992), Dynamo (Kiev) (1992–1998), CSKA (Kiev) (1998–2000), Zakarpattia (Uzhgorod) (2000–2002).
For the national team of Ukraine – 14 matches (6 goals).
• champion of Ukraine (1993-1996);
• silver medalist of the championship of Ukraine (1992);
• winner of the Cup of Ukraine (1993, 1996);
• the best football player of Ukraine (1992, 1993, 1994).
Viktor Leonenko broke into Ukrainian football along with Independence and … a deafening scandal that threatened to cut off his only beginning career. He instantly became a favorite of the public, he was literally carried in his arms. He finished just as suddenly as he began, but one cannot say that he had disappeared without a trace – it is unlikely that any other former footballer in Ukraine creates so many reasons for disputes and discussions.
Victor was born in Tyumen, where, at the age of eight, he enrolled in a youth sports school at the Geolog football team. In this very “Geologist” Victor and debuted in 1988, in the first match by opening an account of his scored balls. For two seasons, he entrenched in the basis and began to show so spectacular, and most importantly – productive game, that the proposals fell just like a horn of plenty. The 20-year-old striker wanted to see Chernomorets, Shakhtar, Lokomotiv Moscow and CSKA in their ranks. Victor chose Moscow Dynamo.
Under the leadership of Valery Gazzaev, he played a full season in Moscow, after which … he collected a bag and simply fled to Kiev with Dynamo breeder Anatoly Suchkov. Escape ran away, but I forgot that he was, among other things, a lieutenant of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. And then the Union collapsed and struck … Muscovites initially wanted to ban Leonenko from playing anywhere through UEFA, but the work of the clubs on a collision course, returning Victor to Moscow, where he finished playing the championship matches, resolved the issue. Who knows if they could have been solved, do not accept Victor Ukrainian citizenship. And so – what kind of officer Leonenko of the Moscow garrison is? Yes, he’s a Ukrainian citizen! So it happened: when many Ukrainian players fled from their homeland to Russia to play for the national team, which inherited the world and European ratings of the USSR, Victor found his new homeland, so to speak, in the opposite direction.
In many ways, precisely for this, and even for the amazing game in the early 1990s, he became just the idol of Kiev football fans. He was recognized as the best football player of the country for three years in a row – even Blokhin did not dream of that! Characteristic was the episode after the final match of the 1993 Ukrainian Cup, in which Dynamo beat Karpaty 2: 1 and in which Victor scored, probably the most beautiful goal in his career. Not enough experienced Kiev resident decided after the match to walk to the house (he lived two blocks from the stadium) on foot. The crowd that met him at the stadium picked up Victor in his arms and carried more than a kilometer. It was Leonenko who, during the years of devastation and insecurity, when many people simply did not have money for tickets, returned the fans to the stadium. For five years Kiev went “to Leon”. The love and respect of Kiev viewers and Viktor Leonenko were mutual, in their interviews the football player often called Dynamo fans “the most devoted in the spaces of the former Soviet Union.” Since 1993, where he wasn’t called: PSG, Barcelona, Eintracht, but he chose to stay in Kiev.
All probably well remember the confrontation of Kiev with Barcelona on September 15, 1993. Dinamo then opened the scoring, but the players of Johan Cruyff (for a minute – Kuman, Stoichkov, Laudrup, Guardiola, etc.) were quickly leveled and were confident of the final victory. Leonenko’s two goals were a real shock for titled Blau Granas. And in the second leg, when the score was 2: 1 in favor of the hosts, more than one Catalan heart beat faster when Victor, having already beaten Zubizarettu, sent the ball to the post …
And what about the “great battle” a year later, when on September 14, in the first match of the Champions League group stage, before 91,000 Kiev fans, Dynamo met their eternal rival Moscow Spartak. Then, after the unrealized penalty, Mikhailichenko guests led 2-0 and Dinamo seemed to be waiting for embarrassment. But Leon’s two goals and Sergei Rebrov’s precise strike brought victory to the hosts. Unfortunately, she was the only one in that league draw, but what are the times, such are the achievements …
Viktor Leonenko remained the real leader of Dynamo until Valery Lobanovsky came to the coaching post in 1997. He was not the captain – others coped with this role remarkably well, but all the time he told all the partners on the field what to do. Perhaps it was precisely this that was the stumbling block – Lobanovsky, who communicated with Victor solely by name and patronymic, immediately explained that “I don’t need a playing coach on the field!”. And if Lobanovsky wanted something …