Biography of Eduard Streltsov
Eduard Streltsov is the legend of Soviet football, the “Russian Pele”, whose life and sports career have been severely tested. The best forward of the Moscow “Torpedo” and the USSR national team, a gold medalist in the team at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. He was recognized as the best football player of the Soviet Union in 1967-1968, holder of the Order of the Badge of Honor.
Streltsov’s brilliant career was interrupted by criminal prosecution and a prison term, after which he returned to big sport and became the owner of the national cup. He died in 1990 from a lung tumor.
Childhood, youth, family: Perovo – Moscow
Edik was born in the summer of 1937 in the family of Anatoly and Sofia Streltsov. The boy’s mother worked as a kindergarten teacher, which was very convenient for her and the baby: in those years, maternity leave to care for a child was too short. Dad was a worker at the Fraser plant until the Great Patriotic War began.
Eduard Streltsov in his youth
Scout Streltsov went through the Second World War without a single wound, but she still took her husband and father from the family. The front brought Anatoly with another woman, and after the Victory they immediately left for Kiev. Edik saw his dad only many years later, at his grandfather’s funeral.
During the war, my mother suffered a heart attack, developed asthma and received a disability group. But it was necessary to live and raise her son for something, and the woman got a job at the same factory where her husband worked. With titanic efforts, she gathered Edik in the first class in 1944. The children wrote down the first letters and words on scraps of newspapers with pencils, there were no notebooks, textbooks were given one for five or seven.
Young Eduard Streltsov
The boy did not like studying, preferring to drive a ball stuffed with rags in the yard. Like many schoolchildren of that time, he was a fan of the Moscow football team Spartak and dreamed of one day equaling Georgy Glazkov in skill. They lived very poorly with their mother, all sports activities were limited to physical education lessons at school and yard games. After graduating from the seven-year period, Edik became an apprentice, and then a mechanic at the Fraser. He was not yet fourteen years old.
It was at the factory that his dream began to come true: Streltsov became a member of the factory football team. After the war, friendly matches between professional clubs and football fans were very popular. At one of these matches, Edik was noticed by the famous coach of the capital “Torpedo” Vasily Provornov. The young footballer was taken to the club training camp, and after a while he already played in the main team of Torpedo.
At the 1954 USSR Championship, Streltsov was just starting his sports career, but in a year he became practically the leader of the team that won fourth place in the country’s main football event in 1955.
Soviet football star Eduard Streltsov
Eduard was recognized as the most productive player in the championship, got into the Olympic team and went to the Games in Australia. In Melbourne, he became a gold medalist as part of the team at the 1956 Olympics, although he did not receive a medal, as Nikita Simonyan entered the final match instead of him, who would later describe his friend as follows:
We loved Ed very much. They called him Bubby. Not only because he was the youngest in the national team. Edik bribed us old people with his disinterestedness and good nature. Note that for a young man of his age (and he was then only eighteen years old), this is a rare property.
According to the unwritten rules, eleven gold medals were awarded to the players who participated in the final, the rest of the club members were left without them. Simonyan nobly offered to give the medal to Streltsov, but the no less noble Eduard refused: Nikita was eleven years older than him, and this medal could be his last sports trophy, while the scorer, full of energy, hoped to win more than one award in the future. But he was left without a well-deserved Olympic medal, although he led the USSR national team to the World Championships in Poland.
Streltsov really hoped to win in Rome, where the 1960 Olympics were held, but his dreams were interrupted by his arrest and subsequent prison term.
What did Eduard Streltsov sit for?
A gifted football player has repeatedly tried to get Western clubs, especially the Swedes and the French. The Central Committee of the CPSU was dissatisfied, Streltsov was known as an unreliable element.
Young, talented, handsome, he attracted the attention of women, but he believed that one should marry for love. When at the top they “found” a bride for him, the daughter of Ekaterina Furtseva herself, Edward flatly refused this marriage. The incident was hushed up, but not forgotten.
Eduard Streltsov was successful with women, but he wanted to marry for love
In 1958, after relaxing in the country in the company of comrades and three women, one of whom called herself Marina Lebedeva, he was accused of raping the latter. Edward was arrested, although he categorically denied the charges. The testimonies of the victim and witnesses were contradictory, the medical examination was carried out negligently.
Eduard Streltsov (center)
Streltsov was promised that his name would remain in the application for the World Championship in Sweden if he admitted his guilt in court. Later, Edward will write in a letter to his mother that he took on someone else’s sin, and at the trial he confessed. He was cynically deceived.
The sentence was harsh: twelve years in Vyatlag with a ban on playing football.
In the colony, Edward did not get along with one of the convicts, after which he was severely beaten by thieves and spent almost five months in a prison hospital. Then Streltsov was transferred to the IK of the Tula region, where there were many of his regular fans. With their help, the former striker was registered as a librarian, and then football teams were organized among the prisoners and amateur competitions began to be held.
In 1963, a decision was made with respect to Streltsov on early release, and he was released.
After the conclusion, the path to big football was closed to Eduard. He got a job at the ZIL plant and began to play for the factory amateur team. Thousands of his fans came to the games of their favorite football player, supporting Streltsov’s fighting spirit with all their might. And soon the power changed in the country, and the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, surrendering to the calls of the public, allowed the athlete to return to Torpedo.
Match “Torpedo” – “Internationale”. Eduard Streltsov in the center
The delight of the fans knew no bounds when the team in which Eduard played won gold medals at the 1965 Soviet Union championship. The forward was again invited to the national team for three years.
Eduard Streltsov, USSR Cup final, 1968
The last game of Streltsov in its composition was the disastrous quarterfinal match of the European Championship against the Hungarian team in Budapest in 1968. In Moscow, in the return match, Eduard was not taken to the field, but the team won with a score of 3:0 and advanced to the semifinals.
After a rupture of the Achilles tendon in 1970, the athlete finally retired from football. After graduating from the Institute of Physical Education, he began to train the youth team of his native club.
Personal life of Eduard Streltsov
For the first time, Edward married at the age of 19, secretly from everyone, since he was to travel to Australia for the Summer Olympics. The girl’s name was Alla Demenko. In 1958, almost before the arrest, the daughter of Milochka appeared in the family of a football player.
The wife, having learned what crime her husband was accused of, filed for divorce, even though Streltsov asked her not to do this, trying to prove her innocence. Allah was relentless.
The first wife of Eduard Streltsov – Alla Demenko
Upon his return from prison, Eduard tried to mend relations again, but Demenko, having accidentally met him on the street, did not even want to talk. Much later, the woman admits that she regretted her act all her life.
In 1963, the football player met a girl named Raisa, whom he proposed to become his wife. Family life with her turned out to be a safe haven, where Streltsov, with his broken fate, finally found peace.
Eduard Streltsov with his wife Raisa and son
When they had a boy, Eduard named him Igor and stopped abusing alcohol. Together with his second wife and son, Streltsov lived for almost thirty years, until his death.
In the late eighties, the legend of Soviet football was diagnosed with pneumonia. This was the initial diagnosis of the doctors. But for some reason, the inflammation did not go away, and upon a more thorough examination, Streltsov was diagnosed with lung cancer.
He was in the oncology center, forbade himself to inject painkillers. His faithful Raya was always nearby. When, in March 1990, Edward learned about the death of the great Lev Yashin, he gathered himself through force and went to the funeral. There he said that he would soon go after him.
Eduard Streltsov, Lev Yashin and Igor Netto in the USSR national team
On July 21, Streltsov turned 53 years old, his colleagues came to congratulate him. And a few hours later, the football player beloved by millions of fans was gone. He never managed to prove during his lifetime that he was not guilty of a crime and spent five years in camps for someone else’s guilt.
The legendary striker was buried at the Vagankovsky cemetery. The committee for his rehabilitation did not achieve a review of Streltsov’s case. They say that on his grave, seven years after the funeral, they saw the same “victim” with flowers.
Memory of a legend
The capital stadium of the club “Torpedo” bears the name of a football player. At the main entrance there is a monument to him by Alexander Tarasenko. The commemorative two-ruble silver coin issued in 2010 bears a portrait of Eduard Anatolyevich. On the reverse side, the inscription reads: “Outstanding athletes of Russia.” The coin is considered to be a collector’s coin, since only three thousand copies were issued.
Monuments to Eduard Streltsov
Eduard Streltsov received his Olympic gold medal posthumously: the Mint issued a batch of such awards for football players who were not involved in the final matches. The initiator and inspirer of this was the ex-football player Alexei Paramonov, also the Olympic champion of the 1956 Melbourne Olympiad. The honorary football award given to the best Russian players is called “Sagittarius”.
Coin depicting Eduard Streltsov
Three times the image of the legendary striker was embodied in feature films. In the series “Furtseva. The Legend of Catherine “and” In the constellation of Sagittarius “he was played by actors Timofey Karataev and Dmitry Vlaskin. In the biopic of Alexei Uchitel “Streltsov”, the image of young Edward on the screen was embodied by Alexander Petrov. The picture, released in 2024, is based on the works of Andrei Sukhomlinov, Alexander Nilin and Vladimir Galedin, written by them about the great forward.
Alexander Petrov as Eduard Streltsov