The legendary football player and skier Alexander Shalamanov was born on September 4, 1941 in Boyana, today a district of Sofia. He started his football career in CSKA (1960-1962) and ended in Slavia (1962-1976). Shami is a three-time winner of the Bulgarian Cup (1963, 1964 and 1966), runner-up in 1967 and bronze medalist in 1964, 1965, 1966, 1970 and 1973. With CSKA, he was the national champion in 1960/1961. There are 265 matches (262 for Slavia and three for CSKA). In European club tournaments, he played 26 matches and scored 1 goal (16 matches for KNK and 10 matches with 1 goal for the UEFA Cup). He participated in two World Cups - England 1966 and Mexico - 1970. He was selected in the ideal team of the World Cup in England as a right defender. As a skier, he participated in the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley (USA, 1960). He was declared the 1 athlete in 1967 and 1973 and the 1 Bulgarian football player in 1963 and 1966. After the end of his football career, he worked as a coach. In an interview with "Doctor", the great football player and skier revealed how he feels at 73 years old and how he takes care of his he alth.
Mr. Shalamanov, did you have more injuries in your time from football or skiing?
- From both sports I have injuries that are calling now. And sitting in a chair will become the same again when the years advance. I broke my leg in the ankle from skiing. He took part in a competition on Vitosha for the "Aleko" Cup. That was my last ski race. They sent me to ISUL, where a professor wanted to nail my ankle. I had never heard of such things being done. There was no telling what would happen, my legs could be cut off. Good thing I didn't fall for this procedure. My leg was cast and healed. Now only when the weather changes, I feel pain in this place. At the time, the equipment was such that the skis did not detach when falling. I was very lucky that I wasn't hurt more seriously.
And what injuries did football bring you?
- From football I had problems with adductors (soccer disease). With this disease, you can only run in a straight line. The pains are indescribable at the slightest step to the left or right. I was on painkillers for a long time. They sent me to Pavel Banya. I also went to Poland with Prof. Adam Grutsa, where Dr. Shoilev was specializing at the time. For a year I was driven from one place to another. Finally, an operation on my adductors was performed in Vienna (1967). Then the Bulgarian athletes sent them there. I was also arranged to be operated on by Prof. Jelenek, who was a luminary in sports traumatology. After the operation, I was off the field for 6 months, but after that I had no problems. I played for another 10-12 years. I used to twist my knees, but I didn't tear cruciate ligaments or menisci.
I have been immobilized 3-4 times in splints
in 15-20 days
At that time, sports medicine in our country was at this level.
How was your physical condition at the World Cup in Mexico? You have played at a very high altitude
- Our specialists have confused us. Then they realized they were wrong. They were looking for the height of Belmeken, on snow. We trained in Velingrad. But the difference with Mexico was huge - both higher by 1800 meters and terrible heat. Nachko Mihailov was a wonderful football player, but in Mexico he constantly threw up. In this heat, the other teams were drinking huge amounts of water, and we were drinking one bottle a day. Crazy job…
Do you still live in Boyana?
- Yes. Beautiful village.
You are a legend of Slavia, of the national team, a unique athlete - a participant in the Winter Olympics. Have you been invited to the "Boyana" residence?
- When I worked at "Slavia", we were invited to clean the residence. We had Leninist sabbaticals. Otherwise, who will invite me! They invite only those who fit in, who stagger to the "left", to the "right". I'm a bit of a brat and I don't talk to them, I don't keep quiet. That's why I'm off the board. I am glad that when I go to the "Krasno Selo" market, some ordinary person will recognize me and say "Good day! How are you? What are you doing?". It's good. It feels great.
I have played for Slavia for 55 years. It's a pity that the years went by so quickly. I did not expect that the wheel of life turns so quickly. It would be nice to spin a little slower.
Is there a football match you can't forget?
- The matches with the Sofia teams are unforgettable - whether with "Levski", whether with CSKA, whether with "Lokomotiv". I remember them fondly. All of us football players were friends. How to kick Gundi or Kotkov or Mitata Yakimov! We have played, we have grown together as juniors, albeit on different teams. There were many good matches in the national team when we played with the Netherlands, with Italy, with Brazil. It's not long to play a semi-final for KNK! I don't remember specific situations in the matches, but I remember the guys I was with on the field. As if people were better, cleaner then.
After you finished your sports career, did you immediately stop the loads, training?
- No - I skied, even competed in veteran races. I played football for the Boyana team. I haven't stopped. And I also helped friends - one to hammer a slab on the house, another to dig something. And now I'm trying, but it doesn't work. Now my walks are to "Slavia" stadium by tram 5 - I watch training and matches.
And I also go for fish
I've been running for so many years that I've taken my dose for life. Some run away from home, others - from work! (laughs)
Do you follow diets?
- I only avoid fatty meat because I was found to have increased uric acid. They were talking about gout, but now I'm on the mend with medication and diet. Well, sometimes I allow myself a little beans, a little pork, but not fat. Otherwise, one leg hurts a lot. I have had other pains, but these are terrible. I also allow myself a little brandy - 30 grams, wine - no, because the pains are terrible. He who has not experienced it does not know. As one gets old, one becomes bad.
Do you go for preventive examinations?
- I am constantly on check-ups. I got stuck with tumors in my bladder. I was cleaned three times and it may be necessary again. I have three operations and three cystoscopies, with anesthesia. Next week I will go for a checkup again to see if anything has shown up. I will be having a cystoscopy for the fourth time. Very unpleasant.
Who and where do you operate?
- I am being treated at Alexandrovska Hospital - Prof. Mladenov and his entire team. I praise all the doctors. Hats off to them. Very nice people, trying to help. May they be alive and well for supporting me.
But all my doctors are from Levski or CSKA. There is not one from "Slavia". But they treat me great. Dr. Derimachkovski also treats me. He is Macedonian, but he works at Alexandrovska Hospital.
How long have you been fighting this disease?
- Third year now. In about six months I'm in the hospital.
Do you use any medicines outside of official medicine?
- No. I trust doctors. Unfortunately, the time may come when I will look for another alternative. (laughs) Now I'm holding on to medicine, but will it last!