European Football - Former Russia midfielder Tsymbalar dies, aged 44

Former Russia midfielder Ilya Tsymbalar, considered one of the most gifted post-Soviet players, has died at the age of 44 in his native Black Sea town of Odessa.

"Long-serving Spartak Moscow and Russian national team player Ilya Tsymbalar died on December 28," the Russian Football Union (RFU) said in a statement on Sunday. "The RFU mourns and expresses its deepest condolences to his family."

According to football agent Roman Oreshchuk, Tsymbalar's death was caused by a heart trouble.

Tsymbalar was part of the Russian team at the 1994 World Cup finals in the United States and the Euro 1996 in England, scoring against Italy in Group C match at Anfield.

Tsymbalar, who was also capped three times by Ukraine in 1992, won six league titles and four national cups with Spartak in the 1990s and was named Russian Footballer of the Year in 1995.