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Hamlet Mkhitaryan’s Life and Career: Part 2

Ararat FC has been and is still one of the most favorite clubs of Armenian fans. Not only did many people go to Hrazdan Stadium but traveled whole Soviet Union to support their favorite team.

Hamlet Mkhitaryan at Hrazdan Stadium in Yerevan
Hamlet Mkhitaryan at Hrazdan Stadium in Yerevan

Photo: From Marina Tashchyan’s archive

Hamlet Mkhitaryan with his teammates
Hamlet Mkhitaryan with his teammates

Photo: From Marina Tashchyan’s archive

Hamlet Mkhitaryan
Hamlet Mkhitaryan

Photo: From Marina Tashchyan’s archive

Albert Sargsyan
Albert Sargsyan

Photo: Mediamax

Alexander Podshivalov
Alexander Podshivalov

Photo: Wikipedia

Babken Melikyan
Babken Melikyan

Photo: Mediamax

Babken Melikyan
Babken Melikyan

Photo: Mediamax

Samvel Poghosyan
Samvel Poghosyan

Photo: Mediamax

Suren Dovlatyan
Suren Dovlatyan

Photo: Mediamax


Mediamax Sport continues its special project about one of the brightest Armenian football players, Hamlet Mkhitaryan. You can read Part 1 here.

We asked Hamlet Mkhitaryan’s teammates - Babken Melikyan, Albert Sargsyan, Samvel Poghosyan and Alexander Podshivalov, coach Nikolay Kazaryan and friend Suren Dovlatyan - to tell us about Mkhitaryan’s football skills.

Ararat FC has been and is still one of the most favorite clubs of Armenian fans. Not only did many people go to Hrazdan Stadium but traveled whole Soviet Union to support their favorite team.

Hamlet Mkhitaryan himself was a real Ararat fan. Once he said about Ararat: “Each football player dreams about playing in Ararat and if you’re lucky enough to play there you should do your best”.

Babken Melikyan: It was no mere chance that Hamlet scored 18 goals in 1984

Babken Melikyan recalls: “Of course, we didn’t win the Championship and 5th position in USSR Championship was our best result but we had a very strong team. There was a very tough competition in the first team but talented football players always distinguish themselves, and Hamlet was one of those gifted players. It was no mere chance that he scored 18 goals - only a goal less than the best forward of the season”.


Babken Melikyan
Photo: Mediamax

Babken Melikyan notes that the list of the forwards of 1984 USSR Championship was topped by Hamlet Mkhitaryan, and Khoren Hovhannisyan very much supported him. Mkhitaryan and Hovhannisyan cooperated on the field especially well that year.


Video is provided by M. Tashchyan special for Sport.Mediamax.am

“2nd best forward in USSR Championship is also a big achievement. Hamlet always thought about the team and he scored goals only for victory and for being recognized the best. At the last matches, Sergey Andreev started demonstrating suspicious effectiveness scoring 3-4 goals in each game and it helped him leave Hamlet behind on the list”, Babken Melikyan said.

Hamlet Mkhitaryan’s senior teammate very well remembers how this agile and active young man entered the first team of Ararat FC.


Babken Melikyan
Photo: Mediamax

“Mkhitaryan was 2 years younger than me and I was already in the first team when he joined us. We knew him from the youth team. He had very good football skills which helped him rank among first-class football players”, notes Melikyan.

Nikolay Kazaryan: We talked to Hamlet for long hours, he wanted to learn everything about football

In 1984, when Nikita Simonyan was appointed the chief coach of Ararat FC, one of the legendary Ararat-1973 football players, Nikolay Kazaryan, became his interim assistant.

“Undoubtedly, Hamlet was one of the leaders of the team and I liked how he played. He was a modest but a brave player and had an excellent orientation on the field. Such fast football players are always competitive”, Kazaryan recalls.

Hamlet Mkhitaryan often asked for Kazaryan’s advice, strived to know as much as possible about football from one of his favorite football players.

“When I was a football instructor in Sports Committee, Hamlet would often come to me and we would talk for long hours. He wanted to know how to effectively play on the left wing. He always attentively listened to me and he always did what I said on the field”, the veteran recalls.

In one of such conversations, Kazaryan advised the young football player not to follow the rival after missing the ball.


Hamlet Mkhitaryan
Photo: from Marina Tashchyan’s archive

“Hamlet was “a dangerously explosive” and very fast player. He’d better save his energy and be more active during attacks. He agreed with me and started playing that way. The fans knew that if Hamlet played, he was sure to achieve a result - get a penalty, make a goal pass or score a goal himself. This is how he played”, recalls Nikolay Kazaryan.

Albert Sargsyan: Hamo was an excellent football player and person

Albert Sargsyan knew Hamlet Mkhitaryan when he was 12-13 years old. They played football together in the yard. They were friends since that time and played in junior and youth teams.

“We passed a very long and interesting path together. We went to football school together. After junior and youth teams, we joined the first team of our favorite Ararat. Hamo was an excellent football player and person”, says Sargsyan.


Albert Sargsyan
Photo: Mediamax

Former Ararat football player recalls that Mkhitaryan had a very good dribbling and high starting speed.

“I made long passes. We agreed with him that I would make a pass from certain position during the game. When we found free space, I made a pass of 30-40 meters and he got rid of the fullbacks and quickly reached the ball”, Sargsyan says.


Video is provided by M. Tashchyan special for Sport.Mediamax.am

Alexander Podshivalov: Hamlet didn’t get gloomy after failures

Ararat goalkeeper Alexander Podshivalov recalls that Hamlet Mkhitaryan never gave up.


Alexander Podshivalov
Photo: Wikipedia

“When I came to Ararat, everyone welcomed me warmly. They took turns to spend time with me so as I wouldn't be bored. That was how Hamlet and I started talking. Armenians are very hospitable and Hamlet was no exception. We spent good time outside the field which helped us better know each other and interact during the match”, Podshivalov says.

According to him, Hamlet is the first football player in his career who didn’t lose heart after failures. Vice versa, he was always in high spirits, inspiring and encouraging his teammates.

“Hamlet used to say that football is just a game and nothing can be changed after failures that’s why it’s no use being gloomy and sad. That was his philosophy”, Alexander Podshivalov recalls.


Hamlet Mkhitaryan with his teammates
Photo: from Marina Tashchyan’s archive

Samvel Poghosyan: Hamo wasn’t only interested in football; he cared about everything

Samvel Poghosyan was Hamlet Mkhitaryan’s close friend whom he used to know long before joining Ararat first team, but it was in Ararat that they made friends with each other.

“Many times we lived in the same room with Hamo during trainings and contests. This is how our friendship started”, noted Samvel Poghosyan.


Samvel Poghosyan
Photo: Mediamax

According to Poghosyan, Hamlet should have shown the best result in the Soviet Union and be the best forward in 1984. But Sergey Andreev’s team arranged it the way that he scored 4 goals in one game and left the Armenian football player behind:

“It was a common result for Hamlet. Of course, he wanted to be the first but it wasn’t a super-goal for him. Hamo wasn’t only interested in football - he thought about everything”.

Suren Dovlatyan: Hamlet was a very faithful person and a patriot

Suren Dovlatyan is one of the best friends of Hamlet Mkhitaryan and his family. He worked with Mkhitaryan’s mother and knew him from adolescence. He remembers Hamlet to be very disciplined. He used to go to the stadium 2-3 hours earlier than the training started.

 “Hamlet’s mother, Amalia, loved football very much and always supported her son. She could hardly put up with the idea if a coach didn’t involve Hamlet in the team. And Hamlet took everything easier”, Dovlatyan says.


Suren Dovlatyan
Photo: Mediamax

He says that seeing Mkhitaryan’s good skills, many clubs expressed the willingness to see him in their teams: “But Hamlet didn’t agree to leave Ararat, he was a very loyal man and a patriot”.

“I remember when he was only 18 during the match against Torpedo, he took the ball in the middle of the field and very quickly ran to the gates of the competing team. The fullbacks catch up with him and he faced the goalkeeper tête-à-tête”, recalls Suren Dovlatyan.

To be continued.

Hasmik Babayan
Gohar Nalbandian

Idea of the project: Ara Tadevosyan.

English translation by Sirvard Amatuni

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