Valeri Vasilevich Lobanovsky, (January 6, 1939-May 13, 2002), was a Ukrainian football manager. He is most famous for his spells managing Dynamo Kyiv, the Ukraine national football team, and the USSR national football team. In 1975 his Dynamo Kyiv team became the first side from the Soviet Union to win a major European trophy when they beat Hungarian side Ferencváros in the final of the Cup Winners' Cup. He was notorious for both his highly scientific and harsh disciplinarian approaches to management.
Lobanovsky began his playing career as a left winger with Dynamo Kyiv, his hometown club, whilst with the side he won both the USSR league and cup. He spent seven years with the club before finishing his career with brief spells at Chernomorets Odessa, and Shakhtar Donetsk. Lobanovsky ended his playing career at the age of 29 having scored 71 goals in 253 games. He also earned two full caps for the Soviet Union and played in two Olympic games.
A year after retiring as a player Lobanovsky was named as the manager of FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. After four relatively unremarkable years with Dnipro, Lobanovsky moved to his former club, Dynamo Kyiv, before the start of the 1974 season, he would manage the side for 15 of the next 17 years (he spent 1982-1983 managing the USSR). During these two spells Kyiv were successful in breaking the Russian dominance of Soviet football. Lobanovsky led his side to the Soviet super league eight times, the cup six times, and the European Cup Winners' Cup of 1975 and 1986.
Lobanovsky also spent three spells managing the Soviet Union during this period. He took the side to the bronze medal in the 1976 Summer Olympics during his first spell. However, it was his third, and last, spell with the side that he gained the most attention. He was asked to manage the side on the eve of the 1986 World Cup. The side, which consisted mainly of his own Dynamo Kyiv players, finished top of their group, but were knocked out in the second round by Belgium 4-3 after extra time. The team did, however, achieve far greater success at the 1988 European Championship. The team again finished top of their group, beating the Netherlands on the way. However, they played the Dutch again in the final and failed to repeat their previous victory.
Following perestroika many of Lobanovsky's best players, for both club and country, left the USSR to play in Western Europe. Going into the 1990 World Cup he couldn't call upon his own Kyiv players to form the core of the side as he had previously done. His subsequent lack of ability to completely control his side led to the team finishing bottom of their group.
Following the debacle of the World Cup, Lobanovsky decided to leave Dynamo Kyiv and take up the lucrative offer of managing the United Arab Emirates national football team. After four relatively lacklustre years he was sacked and went on to spend the next two years managing the Kuwait national football team, before he was again sacked.
In January 1997 Lobanovsky returned to manage Dynamo Kyiv for a third time. The club by this time had fallen somewhat from their former heights. The club had been thrown out of European competetion by UEFA following attempts to bribe an official, and the club was also struggling somewhat in the league. Lobanovsky, however, managed to turn the club around quickly. Aside from leading the team to five consecutive championships, Lobanovsky managed to turn the side into one of the best sides in Europe, reaching the semi-finals of the Champion's League in 1999. He was made manager of the Ukraine national side in March 2000, but was sacked after the side lost a playoff to reach the 2002 World Cup to Germany.
Lobanovsky suffered a stroke on May 7, 2002 shortly after his Dynamo Kyiv side had beaten FC Metalurh Zaporizhya, he died during brain surgery following complications suffered after the stroke.
Following his death Lobanovsky was awarded the title Hero of Ukraine, the nation's highest honour. Dynamo Kyiv's stadium was also renamed the Lobanovsky Stadium in his honour.