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Georgian friends came for the 50th anniversary. The match between Ararat veterans and Dynamo Tbilisi took place at the Hrazdan stadium.  The applause of the fans who came to watch the beautiful game of the great football players did not cease for a minute.


He was not the owner of the "Golden Ball" or "Golden Boot". But this does not detract from his sporting glory, so rich in brilliant victories and decisive beautiful goals. The tactical skill of the football player Markarov, the unpredictability of his actions, were striking. The “skate” of the master was considered to be a scrupulously verified pass that created a real threat to the opponent’s goal. At the same time, he was one of the formidable scorers in the USSR championships. Scored 129 goals.


Eduard Markarov is 50 years old. This is the anniversary of a great master, a clever conductor of attacks, an elegant striker-goal. In 1971, already a well-known football player, he moved to Yerevan, and with his game he contributed to the disclosure of the talent of young athletes.

Indeed, "Ararat" lacked a player of such a role, who managed to immediately reunite all the efforts of partners. Football players of "Ararat" of those years understood each other perfectly, everything turned out, as they say, "from the sheet". And the pattern of Ararat's game began to bribe with its tactical meaningfulness, the subtlety of performing skills. And immediately - a "silver" takeoff. That season, Markarov's beautiful shots forced opponents to start the game from the center 14 times. Among the best scorers of the USSR football championship, he became the second.

   Two years later, Ararat achieved the highest success, having won two peaks of Soviet football - the crystal Cup and the gold medals of the champion. The residents of Yerevan also showed excellent play in matches in European club tournaments, in which Markarov's shots hit the target 12 times. In the match with the Cypriot "Anorthosis" he scored five goals and the same number in two meetings with the Norwegian "Viking".

   The high skill of Markarov and his friends allowed "Ararat" to successfully play away, showing attacking football, without any "away" models. In one of the championships of the USSR, the team played all the meetings with Moscow clubs without losing, for which Ararat was called the champion of Moscow.  

   Soft  The handwriting of the game of Yerevanians, skillful possession of the ball brought them wide fame.

   After the sensational victories of 1973, the authoritative Italian Gazzetta dello Sport wrote: “In modern football, in order to win, it is not enough to have aggressiveness and perseverance, speed and endurance. You need imagination and surprise, you need "stars" who would chain two or three defenders to themselves and be able to hit the goal unexpectedly and from any position. From these positions, Ararat's victory is of progressive importance, since Soviet football is in dire need of a "southern" vein, and Ararat has excellent dribbling masters, smart tacticians and improvisers in the squad...

   One of them in that team of "stars" - "Ararate-73" was Eduard Markarov - the king of sharp corners and stunning goals, a brilliant pass master.  

   When you get acquainted with Lev Filatov's football essay, you are convinced that the game of such wonderful athletes as Markarov, causing delight, admiration, has many opponents. And as if answering them, Filatov in the “Forwards” series gave an elegant and truthful sketch about Markarov: “I strongly suspect that in the case of Markarov, the reference to growth helped those who did not give him a go. For a certain category of people, he played too subtly. You can’t assign any partners to someone like Markarov, confusion begins, it is necessary that the rest be a match for him, and this is perestroika, a change of views, concepts. Why be smart? Better simpler, stronger, with a guarantee against defeat. True, no guarantees for a cool game. This is how simple tastes in football sometimes rule. And Markarov himself did everything to be remembered as a rare master.”

   Congratulating the head of the Malatia Yerevan football team, Honored Master of Sports Eduard Markarov, on his jubilee, we asked him to answer a number of questions:

- Tell us, please, about yourself, about your football youth.

- I have been fond of football since my childhood. I liked to watch the game of my father, Artem Markarov, who took me to the stadium during official matches. He began to teach me the basics of playing ball. I lovingly followed his instructions. And, being naturally dexterous, he quickly mastered the techniques. The first real serious exam was the school sports day, where I scored 9 goals. At the age of 14, such success inspires. And  decided to become a football player.  Since then, my shots have often ended with a goal, many goals have been scored from my serves.

- What can you say about the pass?

- From the very beginning, I paid attention to the impact, of course, the most important element of skill. And real, conscious football begins with a pass, which is nothing more than a blow. Pass is the language of football. And, without owning it, it is impossible to excel in a seemingly simple, but very complex game. Giving a pass, a football player should enjoy and feel it in his soul. And we must try to give out such a transfer that would absolutely not require time from the partner for additional handling of the ball. I was lucky in this: my teacher was an outstanding teacher and coach Boris Arkadiev. He put me next to such a subtle master of football as Yuri Kuznetsov, from whom I adopted the wisdom of the game of passing, which is the basis of football literacy, including the main commandment - scoring.

Pass culture was also given great attention in Ararat. When, in an effort to undermine the "concrete" defense of the opponent, we moved on to a series of fast and beautiful passes, controlling the ball for a long time, the stands began to applaud. The display of such true skill was no less admirable than the ball fluttering in the net.  

   Football is a goal. And Markarov, mentally ahead of his opponent, instantly sent the ball into the goal. To the right point. He did it masterfully, with true artistry, scoring goals, and the most necessary ones, as in the final match with Zorya, with Dnipro in the semi-finals. 

- About the fans? 

- Match - "footballer's theatre". And when entering the field, the players must always be in shape. Nobody needs boring football. The stands of Hrazdan, where during the heyday of Ararat, there was nowhere for an apple to fall, were always friendly and grateful to our game. Thanks to them, without them, I assure you, our game would have faded. I was an ally of a bright, temperamental game and always rejoiced at the successful completion of an attack, considering the beauty of a goal to be the charm of football. And I am pleased that with my performances I brought great pleasure to the fans of the ball

- About friends?

- I was lucky with my friends. A spirit of camaraderie reigned in Ararat, and not only football players know how important this is in a team game. We put all our talent, skill, all our soul into each game, achieving success and getting great pleasure. Having completed our active performances on the football fields, we did not part. We continue to be friends, meet families. I have the closest ties with Alexander Kovalenko, Nikolai Kazaryan, Hovhannes Zanazanyan. And most importantly, they created the Ararat-73 association, which will act for the benefit of our football. The profits received by the association will go to help football veterans, sports schools and the republican school of the Olympic reserve. 

- With which of your colleagues was it easy for you to interact during the game?

- I understood everyone.

- Which of Ararat's victories do you remember the most?

- After winning the Cup-73 we had the hardest game in Donetsk against Shakhtar. This match was of particular importance, because in the championship there was a turning point for us. And even then the question was raised: to be or not to be a champion? In the most difficult struggle we have achieved success.

- What goals do you remember? And not only those scored by you?

- Of course, Levon Ishtoyan's two amazing balls in the Cup-73 final. From my own goals, I remember the ball scored against Dnipro in the Cup semi-finals. Then I managed to complete the attack launched by Norik Mesropyan from the most difficult situation.

- Who do you consider the greatest master in football?

- Undoubtedly, Pele.

- Which team impresses with its game?

- "Ararat" in the 70s showed a stable, technically rich and tactically interesting game.

Of the foreign teams, I like the German national team. With the highest skill, the Germans play simply and reliably.

- What can you say about our football?

- Armenian football is going through a new stage in its development. Clubs are being created, and so far, of course, there are no “stars”. But, I think, over time, masters will grow up who will decorate the game. Often, especially in recent times, they began to speak of a “star” team. But football always needs a diamond. You can't go anywhere without soloists...

- About football trends?

- Total football was, is and will be. But the “contact” is also making its way to us - a game on the “brink of a foul”, requiring a special judicial “eye”.

- About performances for the club and in the national team?

- At the level of the club team - in Ararat I demonstrated the football that the fans liked. As for the USSR national team, they did not allow me to fully reveal myself in it, although for several years I played for the main team, played at the World Championships in England.

   Today Hrazdan will host a match between the football stars of Georgia and Armenia. It is dedicated to the anniversary of the outstanding master Eduard Markarov. The first blow to the ball will be made by the hero of the day, who now, together with his friends, defends the colors of Ararat-73. And during the anniversary match, fans of his bright talent will see their idol again, they will applaud his subtle passes, beautiful shots. True, the speed of football players decreases over the years, but the skill, the magic of the game remains.


Al. Khachatryan

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