Former Georgian star Ramaz Shengelia, famed for the goals he scored for the Soviet Union and Dinamo Tbilisi, has died at the age of 55.
Striker Shengelia enjoyed his peak at Dinamo Tbilisi, where he won the Soviet Supreme League in 1978 and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1981, the greatest footballing success ever achieved by a Georgian club.
The forward also won 26 caps and scored 10 goals for the Soviet Union's national team during the period when Georgia was under Moscow's rule, and he was part of their squad at the 1982 World Cup, scoring in a 2-2 draw against Scotland.
Shengelia was named the Soviet Union's player of the year in 1978 and 1981, and ended his career at IFK Holmsund in Sweden in 1990.
Georgia's president Mikheil Saakashvili paid tribute to the footballer, whom he described as a "very unassuming, very kind man". "It is a great loss for the whole of Georgian society," Saakashvili said on Georgian television. "Ramaz Shengelia was more than a sportsman, he symbolised victory and the feeling of success."
The Georgian Fooball Federation - of which Shengelia was vice-president - expressed sorrow over the death of an "outstanding member of Georgia's football family". "Shengelia's inimitable style changed traditional perceptions of the attacking process," the federation said in a statement.
Russian newspaper Kommersant also described him as "one of the best Soviet forwards".