A pair of 1990 World Cup participants, goalkeeper RINAT DASAYEV of the Soviet Union and striker TONI POLSTER of Austria, pose for a photograph before the start of a La Liga match for FC Sevilla at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in the Andalusian region of southern Spain.
One of the very best aspects of football, for sure, is that international competition can and will pit professional teammates against one another in the quest for glory.
RINAT DASAYEV, the normal first choice Soviet goalkeeper who was given the East Germany game off in Karl Marx Stadt by USSR national team manager Valery Lobanovsky, and TONI POLSTER, the Austria international striker who wrecked the German Democratic Republic’s dreams of last-minute World Cup qualification, were both cashing checks in the fall of 1989 from Spanish employer FC Sevilla.
Each were engaged in their second La Liga campaign while continuing the chase with their respective national teams in UEFA Group 3 for a place at Italia ’90.
Dasayev, who appeared in three World Cup final tournaments over the course of his career and is second on the all-time list for the Soviet Union with 91 caps, was one of the first players to be allowed to play professional football in the West by the USSR; Spartak Moscow sold the 1980 Olympic bronze medalist to FC Sevilla for a fee reportedly in excess of $ 2.0 million dollars after the 1988 European Championships.
Polster, who ended his career as Austria’s all-time leading scorer with 44 goals on 95 appearances, topped FC Torino with nine goals his first year in Serie A after leaving FK Austria Vienna. Italian clubs, however, placed high demands on their limited foreign imports at that time and decided to replace the Austrian with two-time Brazil World Cup forward MUELLER (Luiz Antonio Correia da Costa) from FC Sao Paulo. Thus, Polster was peddled to Spain for two million dollars in the summer of 1988.
The starting XI for FC Sevilla, with Dasayev and Polster standing next to each other in the second row, pose for the traditional team photograph before the start of a La Liga match at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in the capital city of Andalusia.
In the meantime, Austria and the Soviet Union were drawn together in UEFA Group 3 along with East Germany, Iceland and Turkey to decide two of the final 24 spots for the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
And so, early into their careers at FC Sevilla, luck of the draw saw Dasayev and Polster immediately on opposite sides as Austria traveled to Kiev on October 19, 1988. Second half goals from Dynamo Kiev midfielder ALEXEI MIKHAILICHENKO, who would sign for Sampdoria of Genoa after Italia ’90, and Serie A exile ALEXLANDER ZAVAROV, the trailblazer for whom Juventus of Turin had paid $ 5.0 million dollars, secured a 2-0 win for the USSR. Polster could not stain Dasayev’s sheet.
Austria and the Soviet Union met eleven months later on September 6, 1989, in Vienna for the return match of the home and away series, but Dasayev did not take part in the 0-0 draw.