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Euro Stars: Oleksandr Zavarov (Ukraine)

Euro Stars: Oleksandr Zavarov (Ukraine)
Euro Stars: Oleksandr Zavarov (Ukraine)

In our latest series focusing on the 2024 European Championships, we’ll focus on a player from each of the 24 countries participating (except for France). These legends have achieved success with their countries and in Ligue 1, and have helped to make the game in France what it is today: exciting, fast-paced and cosmopolitan.

In our latest edition of EuroStars, we take a look at former AS Nancy man Oleksandr Zavarov and his role in the Ukraine national side. After spells at Dynamo Kyiv and Italian giants Juventus, Zavarov would spend five years between 1990 and 1995 in Ligue 1. Known as a creative, quick, agile and skilful midfielder, Zavarov was known for his two-footedness and excellent technical ability as an attacking midfielder or supporting striker.

After growing up in Soviet Ukraine, Zavarov would represent four sides in his home country from SKA Rostov to Dynamo Kiev. With the latter, he would win the UEFA Cup winners Cup in the 1985-1986 season. Despite making his professional debut in 1979, it wasn't until the 1990s that he would step foot in France. Beforehand, he would become the first Soviet player to play in Serie A, winning the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup before joining the Lorraine-based AS Nancy in 1990.

Zavarov would spend five seasons in Lorraine with AS Nancy, scoring 23 goals in 133 appearances in a red and white shirt. It would also be in red that he played in his international career with the USSR national team. He made his debut in the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship, losing to Diego Maradaona's Argentina in the final. He would then move to the U21 squad but would quickly move to the senior side in 1985. Zavarov would then go on to make 41 appearances for the Soviet Union as a player, scoring six goals including two at the 1986 and 1990 FIFA World Cup final.

After retiring as a player, Zavarov would then embark on his managerial career, where he would swap the Red of USSR for the Blue and Yellow of the Ukraine national team as a caretaker boss and assistant manager from 2013 to 2016.

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