Russian occupiers killed former footballer of a number of Ukrainian clubs
Vitalii Zalizniak, a former football player of a number of Ukrainian clubs, was killed at the front defending his homeland from Russian invaders. The 50-year-old defender and his teammates came under enemy fire near the village of Zaliznychne.
The Ukrainian Football Association announced Zalizniak's death on December 4.
Vitalii was a native of Kryvyi Rih, but he began his football career at Smotrych from Kamianets-Podilskyi before the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1993, the defender joined Shakhtar from Pavlohrad, and he came into his own at Metalurh from Novomoskovsk. There, he was noticed by other Metalurh, Mariupol, and in the 1998/99 and then 1999/2000 seasons, Zalizniak played for the Major League club.
The player's track record also included such clubs as Torpedo Zaporizhzhia and Stal from Kamianske. He finished his career in Nikopol, at the local FC Electrometallurg-NZF. Although he continued to run for the veterans in Novomoskovsk, Dnipro region. In 2017, he was recognized as the best defensive player at the local Cup.
Zalizniak spent his football career as a defender and decided to defend Ukraine after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion. The athlete was a machine gunner in a fire support platoon.
In early December, while performing a combat mission near the village of Zaliznychne in Zaporizhzhia region, Vitalii came under fire from Russian troops and sustained a shrapnel wound that was incompatible with life. On December 5, the hero will be laid to rest in Novomoskovsk.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA reported that the boxer, who fought in Azov, died heroically in Luhansk region. He shielded his comrades-in-arms during a Grad attack.