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Viktor Vladimirovich Ponedelnik
(born May 22, 1937 in Rostov-on-Don
-History:The mouth of the Don River has been of great commercial and cultural importance since the ancient times. It was the site of the Greek colony Tanais, of the Genoese fort Tana, and of the Turkish fortress Azak...
) is a former Soviet
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...
player, regarded as one of the best striker
Forwards, also known as strikers, are the players on a team in association football who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, and are therefore principally responsible for scoring goals...
s in Soviet football history.
Ponedelnik first started playing for a local team, Rostselmash
FC Rostov is a Russian football club based in Rostov-on-Don, Rostov Oblast. The club are currently members of the Russian Premier League and play at the Olimp – 2 stadium.-History:...
, in 1956. In 1958 he switched to SKA Rostov-on-Don
and was invited to join the Soviet national team
The Soviet Union National Football Team was the national football team of the Soviet Union. It ceased to exist after the break up of the Union...
. In the 1960 European Championship, the only major Championship ever won by the Soviet Union, Ponedelnik headed home the winning goal in extra time in the final game against Yugoslavia
The Yugoslavia national football team represented the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in association football. It enjoyed a modicum of success in international competition. In 1992, during the Yugoslav wars, the team was suspended from international...
. Ponedelnik retired in 1966 after gaining weight and undergoing surgery for appendicitis
Appendicitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix. It is classified as a medical emergency and many cases require removal of the inflamed appendix, either by laparotomy or laparoscopy. Untreated, mortality is high, mainly because of the risk of rupture leading to...
. He scored 20 (according to some accounts, 21) goals in 29 games for his country.
In later years, Ponedelnik worked as a coach, a sports journalist, an editor of a sports publication, and an advisor to the President of the Russian Federation. He has received numerous awards for his contribution to Soviet and Russian sport. He is married and has three children and four grandchildren.