Eduard Streltsov played as a forward for Torpedo Moscow and the Soviet Union during the 1950s and 1960s. A powerful and skillful attacker, he scored the fourth-highest number of goals for the national team and has been called "the greatest outfield player Russia has ever produced". He is sometimes dubbed "the Russian Pelé".

Born and raised in east Moscow, Streltsov joined Torpedo at the age of 16 in 1953 and made his international debut two years later. But his promising career was interrupted by a rape scandal. The 20-year-old Streltsov was accused of raping a woman shortly before the 1958 World Cup; told he could still play if he admitted his guilt, he confessed, despite inconclusive evidence against him. He was instead convicted and sentenced to twelve years in the Gulag system of forced labour camps.

Streltsov was released after five years in the camps and in 1965 he resumed his career with Torpedo. In the first season of his comeback, the club won the Soviet championship and the following season he was restored to the national team. In 1967 and 1968 he was named Soviet Footballer of the Year. By the time of his retirement in 1970 he had pioneered innovations such as the back-heeled pass, which became known in Russia as "Streltsov's pass". He died in Moscow in 1990 and Torpedo renamed their home ground "Eduard Streltsov Stadium" in his honour.