A celebrated Russian soccer player has died.
Viktor Samokhin, who represented the former USSR on the team Spartak, passed at the age of 66.
Former Soviet soccer player dies
As a member of Spartak, Samokhin played 224 games and scored three goals. Later in his career, he returned to Spartak from 1996 to 2002 as a coach and led the team to six championships in a row and a Russian Cup victory.
The defender played on Spartak from 1974 to 1981 and won national renown as a champion of the USSR in 1979, going on to win silver medals in the USSR championship in 1980 and 1981.
He also won the First Union League tournament in 1977 and was a champion in the 1979 Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR.
Spartak commemorated Samokhin in a statement on its website.
“FC Spartak Moscow expresses its deep and sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased,” the statement said.
Russian sport faces sanctions
Samokhin’s death comes as Russian athletes have faced international sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February.
Spartak condemned its expulsion from major athletic bodies like FIFA and UEFA, as well as the World Cup, as a mistake.
“Spartak has millions of fans not only in Russia, but all over the world. Our successes and failures bring people from dozens of different countries together. We believe that sport, even in the most difficult times, should aim to build bridges, and not burn them,” Spartak said.
“We are forced to obey a decision that we do not agree with,” the club added.
Meanwhile, Nike has severed ties with Spartak as a broad Western boycott of Russia’s culture and economy continues.