Kutuzov is one of the brightest BATE players on the joint of centuries. Liolik,
as he was called by his fellow players, became a true legend of the club and
then one of the most successful Belarusian player abroad.
the first professional club of for the Pinsk-born youngster. Before that Vitali
was coached in the home town. According to his first coach Aleksandr
Shevelyanchik, his elder sister brought him to the football school.
Shevelyanchik recalls: "It could be
seen from the first time that they boy can make a good player. Vitali started
to train with a team who were one year older than he was. We decided at once he
would be a striker. And he scored a lot. His talent and his ability to work
hard made Kutuzov an amazing player. He used to come for the training session
one hour before the start of the training session and asked for the ball to
train a bit. Then he trained with his group, but was the last person to leave
the pitch. He used to work on shots and volleys".
about the wonder child from Pinsk soon spread all over ex-USSR. "So many teams wanted to see him.
Spartak and Dinamo Moscow, a lot of scouts came. His mother phoned me at once
for advice. After that BATE people came. President Kapski and head coach Yuri Puntus came to Pinsk in person. They had
negotiations with Vitali's mother and signed a contract' - said Shevelyanchik.
Kutuzov joined BATE in 1998, when he was only 18 years old. But his talent
and goalscoring potential were obvious. Yuri Puntus, BATE head coach, took care of the
newcomer. In his first season Kutuzov appeared mostly as a substitute. This
happened in the first match by Kutuzov in the top division against Molodechno 2:1, which was also was BATE's debut in the Vysshaya Liga. Kutuzov appeared in the break instead of Vadzim Skrypchanka and earned a penalty scored by Yuri Tikhomirov. That goal brought BATE victory.
progressed rapidly. That year Vitali played just 2 full matches of 27. But
managed to score 5 goals and give 9 assists and contributed in the first BATE
finish as runners-up.
Vitali became a true leader of the squad and a fans' favourite. No.8 on his
shirt became iconic for the fans. Kutuzov became best goalscorer with 19 goals
in 28 matches. In the game against FC Naftan Novopolotsk (7:1) Vitali scored a hat-trick. Although Kutuzov
lost the topscorers' battle to would be BATE striker Valeri Stripeikis of Slaviya Mozyr (22 goals), but the Borisovites became
champions with a huge margin from the Mozyr side. And Kutuzov's contribution into the club's
first ever national title was great.
explained his success by perfect collaboration of the whole squad: "Guys created me fantastic conditions.
I felt very comfortably mentally and understood I was not alone there. And used
this wave". Kutuzov also mentioned amazing atmosphere at the Borisov
Gorodskoi Stadium: "The whole town
stand for the club. Borisov is not a big city. This is very inspiring if the
whole Borisov is with you in the pitch. There is no room for complacency in
such an atmosphere".
In 2000 season which was less successful for BATE, Kutuzov
continued to score regularly. 21 June 2000 he became the first BATE player to
score four goals in one game. FC Naftan Novopolotsk suffered a humiliating defeat on
that day (8-0). Besides that Kutuzov became one of the
leaders of the U-21 Belarusian side and a candidate for the first national
became a true breakthrough for the striker. Vitali continued to score amazing
goals bringing a lot of positive emotions. His second four-goal miracle came in
the game against FC Torpedo-MAZ Minsk. At Gorodskoi BATE were trailing
0-2 in the first hour of the game, but then came back to make it 5-2!
matches of Vysshaya Liga Kutuzov scored 14 goals. One more goal was added up in
UEFA Cup in the match against FC Dinamo Tbilisi. In the next round BATE faced famous AC Milan with Andriy Shevchenko, Paolo Maldini and
Filippo Inzaghi. And between the two halves of the game in Minsk (0-2) - a truly rare occasion in European football
- BATE bosses and Adriano Galliani of Milan agreed the terms of Kutuzov's
transfer to Rossoneri. In the second leg the Yellow Blues lost 0-4, but Kutuzov was already a Milan player at
BATE as the club's record-holder in many nominations, including the top
goalscorer record. Many years will pass before another Yellow Blues legend Vitali Radzionau.
will have a brilliant career in AC Milan, where he will be surrounded by top
stars, Sporting Lisbon, where he shared the room with young Cristiano Ronaldo,
Avellino, Sampdoria, Parma, Pisa and Bari.