Serhiy Stanislavovych Rebrov born 3rd June 1974 is a retired former Ukrainian international striker and now head coach of Dynamo Kyiv. Rebrov came to prominence as partner to Andriy Shevchenko in what was one of the most feared strike forces in Europe in the late 1990s.
Born in Horlivka, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, Rebrov began his football career with regional power house Shakhtar, signing as a youth player in 1990. Rebrov made his debut for the Miners in the 1991 season as a 17 year old going on to make 7 appearances and scoring 2 goals in what was to be the final season of the Soviet Top League. In the inaugural season of the Ukrainian Premier League in 1992 Rebrov made a further 19 appearances for the club scoring 10 goals which placed him joint 3rd in the goal scorers charts. His strike rate brought him to the attention of Dynamo Kyiv who signed Rebrov in August 1992.
Dynamo Kyiv had narrowly lost out to Tavriya Simferepol for the title in the previous season and were in no mood to miss out again. Rebrov joined a strike force already containing Viktor Leonenko and fellow new signing from Metalurg Zaporizha, Pavlo Shkapenko, as manager Anatoliy Puzach went about building a formidable squad. Rebrov was a key figure playing 31 times and scoring 7 as Dynamo won their first Ukrainian Premier League title, pipping Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on goal difference, while also adding the Ukrainian Cup, to make it a historic double. During this season a young Andriy Shevchenko was making waves at Dynamo-2, and his promotion to the first team, would inspire Rebrov and Dynamo to greater heights.
Dynamo would go on to dominate the Ukrainian Premier league over the next few season winning the league again in 1993, 1994 and earning a second double in the 1995-96 season. Rebrov became increasingly prolific scoring 40 goals between 1994 and 1997, including a league record 4 goals in one game against Kryvbas in October 1996, a year in which Rebrov was voted Ukrainian Player of the Year for the first time. It was also during the course of the 1996 season that Rebrov made his debut in the Ukrainian national team, scoring his first goal in a 1-0 victory during a World Cup Qualifier in Belfast, October 1996
For all their success on the domestic front Dynamo had failed to make the grade in Europe, resulting in frequent managerial changes. It wasn’t until the return of Valeriy Lobanovsky for the start of the 1997-98 season that Dynamo announced their return to the upper echelons of the European game. Spearheaded by the Rebrov and Shevchenko strike partnership, Dynamo topped a group containing; Barcelona, Newcastle and PSV Eindoven, including famous victories home (3-0) and away (4-0) against the Spanish giants, with Rebrov bagging goals in both games. Although Juventus would prove a step too far in the first knock out stage, Dynamo had announced they were back. In Lobanovsky’s first season back, Dynamo won their third domestic double, with Rebrov scoring 37 goals in all competitions including 22 in the league, his best ever return and enough to be crowned Top Scorer in the Ukrainian Premier League, as well as Ukrainian Player of the Year for the second time.
The 1998-99 season would perhaps be the greatest in the modern era for Dynamo. In Europe the stage was set in qualifying when Dynamo thrashed Welsh side Barry Town 10-1 on aggregate, which included an 8-0 demolition in Kyiv which included another 4 goal salvo from Rebrov. After topping a group which included Arsenal, Dynamo would go on to meet Real Madrid in the quarter finals. After a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu, two Shevchenko goals gave Dynamo a 2-0 victory and the right to play Bayern Munich in the semi-finals. Drawn at home in the first leg, Dynamo raced into a 2-0 lead before half-time, only to be pegged back early in the second half. A third Dynamo goal to make it 3-1 restored the two goal advantage and put Dynamo in the driving seat, however lady luck would work against Dynamo allowing Bayern to draw level on the night and thus take 3 away goals into the second leg. A spirited effort in the second leg failed to muster the result required, Bayern prevailed 4-3 on aggregate, bringing to an end the dreams Dynamo’s golden generation. Dynamo would go on to win the Ukrainian double that season but the squad would begin to be broken up with big money moves abroad.
Rebrov and Dynamo returned to the Champions League the next season, – with Rebrov scoring a career high 9 goals in the competition (joint 4th overall) – however, they failed to progress beyond the second group stages and Rebrov would depart in the summer of 1999-2000, as Englands Tottenham Hotspur made Rebrov their record signing when George Graham acquired his services for £11 million. Rebrov left Kyiv with 8 league titles, 5 Ukrainian Cups, 283 appearances and 139 goals.
Rebrov made his Premiership debut in August as Spurs beat Ipswich at White Hart Lane, and would score his first goals a couple of weeks later with a match winning brace against Everton. In his first season with Spurs Rebrov made 37 appearances including 12 goals, a solid if unspectacular return. The sacking of Geogre Graham in March 2001 was pivotal to Rebrov’s career, with his replacement Glenn Hoddle freezing out the Ukraine striker. Rebrov saw himself loaned out twice to Fenerbahce in Turkey where he won the Turkish League before moving on a short term contract to West Ham United in 2004. After scoring only one goal for West Ham as they returned to the Premiership through the 2006 play offs, Rebrov become a free agent, almost signing for London neighbours Charlton Athletic, however a return to Dynamo Kyiv was agreed on 1st June 2005.
In his first season back at Dynamo, Rebrov was the clubs top scorer with 13, and was named UPL Player of the Season as Dynamo finished runners up to Shakhtar, collecting the Ukrainian Cup as consolation. His club form saw him picked in Oleh Blokhins squad for the FIFA World Cup in Germany, the first tournament Ukraine had qualified for. Rebrov featured in all but Ukraine’s quarter final loss to Italy, scoring a 30 yard screamer in Ukraine’s 4-0 win against Saudi Arabia and the second penalty as Ukraine snuck past Switzerland in the second round. The World Cup would prove to be the end of Reborvs International career after 75 appearances and 15 goals.
After winning the league and cup double in 2006-07, Rebrov became Dynamo captain in 2007, as he began to develop a new deeper sitting role for himself. However he found himself increasingly surplus to requirements, sparking rumours of a move to Arsenal Kyiv during the January transfer window. The arrival of Yuri Semin as Dynamo manager saw an upturn in Rebrov’s fortunes, playing all games after the winter break. However this was not enough to prevent Rebrov seeking pastures new, as he joined one of the Russian Premier League’s nouveau rich side Rubin Kazan. Rebrov left Dynamo for the final time in his playing career, with a total of 360 appearances and 163 goals. Over his two spells at Dynamo Rebrov had become the first player to score 100 goals in the Ukrainian Premier League. With a total of 123 league goals (10 for Shakhtar, 113 for Dynamo), Rebrov sits on top of the exclusive club known as the Serhiy Rebrov club of players who have scored 100 goals in the UPL, Maxsym Shatskikh and Andrey Vorobei are the only other members. Rebrov also tops the Timerlan Huseinov club and is a member of the Oleh Blokhin club.
Rebrov spent 2 seasons at Rubin, helping them to their maiden championship in 2008 and their inaugural Champions League campaign, scoring 5 goals in 30 appearances, largely playing in his with drawn midfield role. Rebrov called time on his illustrious career on 20th July 2009, having won titles in 3 different countries, and playing 423 times, netting 145 goals. Rebrov became a coach at Dynamo Kyiv, and in 2010 became a assistant to Oleh Blokhin when he returned as manager of Ukraine.
In 2014 following the end of Oleh Blokhin’s disasterous reign at Dynamo, Rebrov was put in caretaker charge until the end of the 2013/14 season. Dynamo were already unlikely to qualify for the Champions League, but could still seek glory in the Ukrainian Cup. Rebrov managed to lift his team and Dynamo won the 2014 Cup, their first trophy since the 2009 UPL. Dynamo’s revival under Rebrov continued as he led Dynamo to a league and cup double in his first season in charge, remaining unbeaten in the UPL throughout the campaign. He beat Valeri Lobanovskyi’s record for being undefeated in the league having seen it stretch to 38 games. He equalled another of Lobanovskyi’s achievements in 2015 as he became the first Dynamo manger to qualify for the Champions Knock-Out stages since Lobanovskyi had done in 1999. His managerial career is still in its infancy but has brought the glory required at Dynamo Kyiv and there is hope he will have a long and successful reign at Dynamo.
Beyond football . . . During his time at Spurs it is reported that Rebrov and fellow Ukrainian footballer Oleh Luzhny amassed thousands of pounds of motoring fines by driving in bus lanes and illegally parking in London, however as they drove cars registered in Ukraine, the authorities were unable to trace the vehicles and Rebrov never had to cough up to the traffic wardens!!! However for all his traffic offences in England, Rebrov did take to British cars and is now known to drive around Kyiv in his Aston Martin.
Serhiy Rebrov, welcome to the Viktor Leonenko Hall of Fame
Serhiy Rebrov’s Varenyky Rating