Champ Man Legends #3 – Maxim Tsigalko

Maxim Tsigalko was probably the most prolific goalscorer that I have ever come across throughout the Championship Manager/Football Manager series. Sometimes his first season might see slightly less than a goal a game, but after that it would be at least one goal a game, sometimes even breaking the 100 goal barrier, plus a bag of assists as well. Apparently to really unleash his potential you could have him man mark the goalkeeper, but I was never into this ‘hands on’ approach to management. It didn’t matter with him anyway, he’d still smash all previous goal scoring records, virtual or otherwise.

In terms of his stats, Tsigalko had more 20s than you could shake a preverbial stick at: Finishing, Acceleration, Creativity, Technique, Pace and Off The Ball. Sometimes he’d also have 20 for Jumping, Heading and Agility. He was basically a goal scoring machine sent back in time from the future!

Maxim was one of several Belarus players that could enhance any team, the main other one being notorious AM/FC Sergey Nikiforenko and let’s not forget Andrey Milivesky, who was also worth a purchase. Firstly they could be picked up for less than 500k and even if they didn’t quite cut the mustard and fit into your ‘philosophy’ you could be certain their values would rocket and you could always sell them on for a hefty profit. In one particularly memorable career, Belarus won the 2002 World Cup. This was even without Tsigalko, with the likes of Petr Kachuro of Sheffield United fame playing a starring role.

Maxim Tsigalko was a bit more difficult to sign though, as Belarus was outside the EU, and pleasingly for fans of UKIP still is; I can hear them now: “they come over here, these notorious eastern European goalscorers, taking jobs of British lower league strikers!” As a non EU signing, this meant the need for a work permit, and Tsigalko did not have the necessary international experience to be granted one (not that this was ever a problem for Wenger in the late 90s and early Noughties). This posed quite a quandary and sometimes I would just keep trying to sign him for the whole year, appealing the decision whenever possible and I’m sure once or twice it went through.

So your best bet to sign him was to either let him join another club first, who for some reason then never really played him, I’m sure this was mainly Lens, and you could pick him up for a cheap price anyway. Or start in a different country, with a less right wing attitude to the free movement of Eastern European strikers. Even then, signing him would involve a month long wait for a scout report (assuming you had attribute masking on, although why wouldn’t you? You’re a professional!) so you could bid the paltry sum of approximately 800k to buy him.

In the real world, his name is actually Maksim Tsyhalka, and his career did not come close to his Champ Man exploits, proving to be a bit of a journeyman, plying his trade around Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan. He did manage to be capped twice for Belarus (his brother Yury was a professional goalkeeper who played three times for the national team, I bet that extra cap hurt Maksim every day), and actually scored once in a friendly against Uzbekistan in 2003. He also won the Belarussian Cup in 2003, and the Belarussian League in 2004 so his actual career wasn’t a complete failure in fact, I mean I’ve never even won an a Belarussian Cup, an Armenian one yes, but never a Belarussian one!

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