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“Zenith” threw a million! The scandalous story of the first transfer to the USSR

Date: October 4, 2023 Time: 19:17:31

Modern football is a lot of money that clubs earn from transfers. And in the USSR for a long time they did not know at all that it was possible to make a profit from players. Then the main form of transitions was player swapping, and the compositions were much more stable. But everything changed in 1989. kyiv “Dynamo” opened a real “Pandora’s box”.

Oleg Salenko became the helper of the first “money” transfer. He immediately declared himself out loud when, at the age of 16, he entered the field for Zenit’s senior team. And in the first match with Dynamo Moscow (4:3), the striker became the author of the decisive goal. The child prodigy forever entered his name in history as the one who scored the “youngest” goal in the Major Leagues. In total, in the first season, Salenko managed to score four times. Many clubs already set their sights on the young player then.

FC Zenit

Still, Oleg failed the test of the second season, remaining goalless. But in 1988, he overcooked it. What was worth only his performance at the European Junior Championships, where Salenko helped the team win gold. And in the championship, the striker scored seven goals. It seemed that the player was simply obliged to become a Zenit legend, in St. Petersburg the striker was adored and a great future was predicted for him. But Dynamo Kyiv intervened.

Archive “Soviet Sport”

It is curious that at first Salenko could end up in CSKA. The “army team” then actively looked at the football player, hoping to recruit him into the army and then play for the Moscow club. At that time, he was playing in the First League, but he dreamed of returning to the “tower”. Therefore, they were willing to get a forward striker at all costs. And he wasn’t eager to come down, so he went for the trick, he faked a concussion. Talent took his word for it, so Salenko stayed at Zenit.

Dynamo Kyiv went on the attack. At Zenit, they understood the problems this threatened. At first, the footballer was persuaded to stay “in a good way”, then he was openly threatened with disqualification. And the last step to try to keep the striker was the price that the Saint Petersburg club put. For the young striker they asked… a million rubles. Frankly speaking, for that time it was fabulous money. Zenit was sure that such a number could not subdue anyone, which means that Salenko would stay and continue to delight the fans.

Archive “Soviet Sport”

Before the start of the 1989 season, the technical and sports commission of the USSR Football Federation decided that the striker could be declared for Dynamo Kiev without hindrance. True, literally three years later, the Presidium of the same body blocked the transition. But, apparently, the matter was already decided. The kyiv lawyers worked flawlessly, and the fate of Oleg was decided “in the offices.”

Archive “Soviet Sport”

A meeting of the technical and sports commission was held at which it was finally decided: there will be a transition! Oleg officially got a chance to move to Dynamo kyiv. The footballer himself later said that the transition was beneficial to him both in sporting and financial terms. But Zenit was left with nothing. The USSR State Sports Committee determined that the amount for Salenko’s education and training would be 37 thousand rubles. There was no limit to the disappointment of the club’s management.

In St. Petersburg, the news about the transition of the public’s favorite was very painfully received. He was accused of betraying the club and the city, and was criticized indiscriminately. There is no trace of the past. And in kyiv “Dynamo” Salenko could not become a star. Against the background of skillful teammates, he was lost, scoring only 28 goals in 101 games.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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