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FC Spartak’s veteran, 1956 Olympic Champion Alexey Paramonov dies at 93

Alexey Paramonov, a legendary Soviet footballer of the 20th century whose team won the gold at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, died on August 24

MOSCOW, August 24. /TASS/. Alexey Paramonov, a legendary Soviet footballer of the 20th century whose team won the gold at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, died on Friday. He was 93.

Paramonov, a veteran of Moscow’s FC Spartak, was taken to hospital due to health problems at the end of July. On August 18, he was transferred to an intensive therapy unit.

Paramonov was born in the town of Borovsk, the Kaluga Region. His family moved to Moscow when he was two. During World War II years, still in his teens, he participated in the nation’s war effort working at an industrial plant making mortars for the Red Army, and then at a plant of the Ministry of Merchant Marine.

His football career began in the post-war years. Very soon he was invited into the Air Force Team, whose chief was General Vasily Stalin, son of the then Soviet leader and a great football enthusiast and sponsor.

Football life in red-and-white

Paramonov’s career in the FC Spartak (red-and-white T-shirts have been the club’s unmistakable brand for decades) started in the autumn of 1947. With his team Paramonov won the Soviet Union’s national championships in 1952,1953,1956 and 1958 and the National Cup in 1950 and 1958. Many believe Spartak’s line-up in those years was the strongest ever in the club’s history. Spartak served as the backbone for the Soviet national squad that grabbed the gold at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

In the national championships Paramonov played in 318 matches and scored 63 goals.

On the pitch both fellow players and fans appreciated his reliability, endurance, self-sacrifice and discipline. Spartak’s other legendary veteran and doyen for many years, Nikolai Starostin, said once some footballers were more robust and skillful, but Paramonov was equally useful for the team in any capacity and in that sense had no rivals.

Since retirement Paramonov worked for the national football federation for nearly half a century. In 1983-1990 he was a member of the Union of European Football Associations.

On June 14, 2018 Paramonov attended the opening match of the first-ever domestic FIFA World Cup. He was invited to the stadium by FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Sadly, his health problems turned for the worse shortly afterwards. In July, he handed his medals and other awards to the FC Spartak’s museum.

The acting president of the Russian Football Union, Alexander Alayev, said Paramonov was a benchmark and idol for many generations of players.

Russian Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov voiced condolences over Paramonov’s death, which, he said, was an irreparable loss for Russia’s sports community.

All fifth round matches in Russia’s Premier League will begin with a moment of silence for the great footballer.

The funeral ceremony is due at the FC Spartak Academy in Moscow on Monday. Paramonov will be laid to rest next to his wife Yulia at Moscow’s Vagankovo cemetery. He outlived his spouse by two years. They had been married since 1950.