Famed Croatian goalkeeper Vladimir Beara, who secured a 1952 Olympic silver for the former Yugoslavia national team, died on Monday, aged 85, officials said. Beara died in the coastal Croatian city of Split after a series of strokes, his former club Hajduk Split announced.
He earned the nickname "Great Vlad" after he saved a penalty against Hungarian striker Ferenc Puskas at the 1952 Olympic Games finals in Helsinki. He also played for Yugoslavia at the 1954 and 1958 FIFA World Cup™, with a total of 59 matches for the national team.
When in 1963 legendary Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin received FIFA's Golden Ball, he reportedly said: "I am not the best goalkeeper in the world, it is Vladimir Beara."
As a goalkeeper for then Yugoslav teams Hajduk from Croatia and Serbia's Red Star Belgrade, Beara won seven national championships from 1947 to 1960. From 1960 to 1964, Beara played in Germany. In the 1970s, he went on to coach clubs in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Yugoslavia as well as the Cameroon national team.