Hallucinations and delusions of persecution. Why did the star of “Spartacus” go to a psychiatric hospital instead of the national team

All the geniuses of world history cannot do without quirks in everyday behavior, but all this sinks behind a screen of enthusiasm and applause, only coming to light when the maestro retires from big football. After the end of his career in the press, details of the life of a man applauded by stadiums appear in the press. It was this tragedy that happened to the legend of Moscow Spartak Fyodor Cherenkov.

Fedor Cherenkov spent his entire career, with the exception of a short time in France, in his native Spartak. And it all started with the scandalous relegation of one of the most successful clubs in the country to the Allied first league. It was then, in 1977, that the team was handed over to the sworn Dynamo player Konstantin Beskov, who in a couple of years made a faded and scandalous team the champion of the USSR. It was at this time that such players as Rinat Dasaev, Vagiz Khidiyatullin, Oleg Romantsev and, of course, Fedor Cherenkov shone in the capital club.

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Beskov, regardless of his past at Dinamo, built the red and white game through an ornate and lacy football, guided mainly by the idea and play of a short pass. All that the Dutch were famous for in those years with their total football. Controlled chaos, when the opponent’s defenders are completely unaware of how the attack will develop in the next second, and the attack line, like a fan, disintegrates across the entire width of the field, making it impossible to reveal the plans and projects of the upcoming offensive. With such a game, Spartak’s players baffled almost everyone, even the most concrete defenses of their opponents, including the incredibly mentally and physically prepared Dynamo Kiev.

Fedor Cherenkov was the link between defense and attack, his duties included cutting passes to paralyze the opponent’s defense, which he performed very successfully on the field, not disdaining to score goals. Yes, even what! A true master cannot have everything like this. Most of Cherenkov’s goals are an elegant conclusion to a multi-move combination. Well, he couldn’t have done otherwise, because in his mind football was similar to the theater: without falsehood, without serving a number on the pitch, without trying to take a break.

It would seem that with such talents, a football player will certainly be the first violin in the national ensemble, but for every brilliant action in a career there is something that will be a counterattack. For a long time, information about Fedor’s health was hidden from the mass public. Cherenkov periodically had nervous breakdowns and night hallucinations. The fact that the star of “Spartak” was in rehabilitation in a psychiatric hospital, people learned even after the end of his career. Due to the fact that the Spartak wizard was very upset by Beskov’s defeats and criticisms, he had a serious mental overload. And in 1984, doctors diagnosed a 25-year-old player with a mental disorder, which has periodically worsened since then, especially in the spring and autumn periods.

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For the first time, the disease manifested itself clearly before the match with Belgian Anderlecht in Tbilisi. Cherenkov had a nervous breakdown, as a result of which a strange persecution mania appeared. It always seemed to Fedor that someone wanted to poison him, so he completely refused to eat in cafes and restaurants. Because of this whole situation, he was constantly nervous, could not relax. There were rumors that the Spartak leader attempted suicide. Years later, Fedor’s relatives will say that the doctors then overlooked the symptoms of a progressive disease.

It was these problems that made USSR national team coach Valery Lobanovsky ignore Cherenkov. At the same time, in the mid-80s, the opinion was promoted that Valery Vasilievich did not bring Fedor into his team only because of his style of play. Dynamo Kiev, whose coach was the national team manager, professed a different football, built on strict actions in each line and long passes that would send forward, thus creating a speed advantage up front. Cherenkov did not qualify for the 1984 and 1988 European Championships and also missed the 1986 World Championships. Which affected even more the mental and psychological state of him.

The disease progressed and during the acute stages Fedor Cherenkov went to the hospital, but the treatment had a short-term effect, after a while everything returned. Because of this, the football player was often depressed, teetering on the verge of depression, from which even medications could not save. Cherenkov was repeatedly treated by the best specialists of the country, but they could not help him fight the scourge.

On September 22, 2014, Fedor Cherenkov fell ill and lost consciousness upon his own entry. The Spartak legend was taken to one of the capital’s hospitals, where the doctors diagnosed severe hypotension, but the cause of this diagnosis could not be found. Doctors fought for the life of the football player for almost two weeks, but unfortunately they could not save him.

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Fedor Fedorovich was about 55 years old. Experts agreed that the reason for the sharp deterioration in his condition, which led to his death, was a brain tumor. Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral. Cherenkov was buried in the Troekurovsky cemetery in Moscow. In October 2015, a monument to the real Spartak player was erected near the Otkritie Arena and the southern stand of the stadium now bears his name. In the summer of 2020, after long frictions and scandals, a monument to Fyodor Cherenkov was finally erected in the cemetery.


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