Famed for his pace, creativity and accuracy with set pieces, the winger Maksym Kalynychenko was born in Kharkiv on 26th January 1979.
Kalycnychenko got into football at a young age, as his father played for an amateur side in Kharkiv. His father was a goalkeeper, which meant that Kalynychenko was able to hone his skills as a forward player with his father between the sticks. He was enrolled into a sports boarding school in Kharkiv, the Kharkiv Sportinternat, where his ability was quickly identified. Despite being a Dynamo Kyiv fan, it was noted how he played with more flair, like a player of Dynamo’s arch-rivals Spartak Moscow, whom he played with for the majority of his career.
At 17, Vyacheslav Grozny identified the talent of Kalynychenko and persuaded him to sign for FC Dnipro. Within a year of signing, Kalynychenko made it into the first team and made it into Ukraine’s U21 squad. Between 1996 and 2000, Kalynychenko made just under 50 appearances for Dnipro and 9 for Ukraine U21, but he followed his mentor Vyacheslav Grozny to Spartak Moscow, when the coach switched sides in 2000.
The move proved immediately successful as Spartak won the league titles in 2000 and 2001 and the Russian Cup in 2003, but success dried up after this golden start. Kalynychenko was unfortunate with injuries and receive a couple of really bad injuries while at Spartak, including a torn cruciate ligament and a severed Achilles tendon, but he managed to overcome these and continued as a player. He still had an important role to play for Spartak, scoring crucial goals in the Champions League which helped the Moscow side qualify ffrom the Champions League, to the UEFA Cup. His form in 2006 got him voted as the best left winger in Ukraine and into the list of the top 33 players. More importantly it got him on the plance to Germany, for Ukraine’s squad at the 2006 World Cup.
Kalynychenko made his debut for Ukraine in 2002 in a friendly against Yugoslavia. He was part of the squad for Ukraines Euro 2004 qualifying campaign, but when Oleh Blokhin took over, he did not feature as much. However, his excellent form for Spartak gave Blokhin no choice but to include the winger in his championship squad, despite not playing at all during the qualifying campaign. At the World Cup, Kalynychenko missed the opening game against Spain, but played in the remaining four games, which included a goal against Saudi Arabia. After the campaign, he stayed in Blokhin’s squad, but could not help them qualify for Euro 2008.
His form at the World Cup attracted the attention of clubs around Europe and there were rumours he would make the move. Manchester United, Valencia and Borussia Dortmund were linked to Kalynychenko, but he remained at Spartak as any bids failed to materialise. Despite no offers in the summer of 2006, Dynamo Kyiv and Dnipro both tried signing the winger in the winter transfer window, but Spartak refused to sell him, despite not giving him the playing time he desired.
In 2008, he finally departed Spartak after falling out with the coach. He then re-signed for Dnipro where he played for three seasons scoring 11 league goals in his time. Once his contract expired, he signed for Tavriya Simferopol, where he shared captaincy duties with his old Dnipro team mate, Serhiy Nazarenko.
He retired from football in 2014 and is currently working as a football pundit on Ukrainian television.
Welcome to the Viktor Leonenko Hall of Fame Maksym!
Kalynychenko’s Varenyky Rating: