Does Russian Football Make Average Foreigners Look Good?

When Zenit St. Petersburg signed Yoann Mollo from Krylia Sovetov earlier this year, both Zenit fans and observers from Mollo's home nation France raised their eyebrows. The fans of Zenit thought that Mollo was not at the level of their club, only shining at Krylia as he was the focal point in their counter attacking style of play, and therefore took the lead in most of their attacking play. French observers, fans of his former club Saint Etienne, for example, struggled to believe that a player … [Read more...]

Nikita Medvedev – Record Breaker

On the 1st of November 2015, Nikita Medvedev played his final game for his hometown club, Zenit-Izhevsk, as they triumphed 2-0 in the PFL (the 3rd tier of Russian football) against Nosta Novotroitsk. In the 18 months since he signed for his new side FC Rostov, Medvedev has made his league, cup and European debut, played against the three biggest sides in Russia, Sparta Prague and Manchester United, and broken the biggest goalkeeping record in Russian football. Excluding a cup defeat to Dinamo … [Read more...]

Ones To Watch – Abdoul Gafar

Biography Name: Abdoul Gafar Sirima (Gafar) DOB/Age: 30/12/1998 - 18 years old Club: Baltika Kaliningrad Positions: Striker Nationality: Burkina Faso Career to Date A common trend nowadays in Russia is for young players from Africa to appear on trial. Spartak and CSKA Moscow have taken a number of Nigerians and Ghanaians in 2016, though none were signed, while Tom Tomsk took two Libyans on trial. So, when CSKA revealed they had a triallist simply named “Jafar”, it was no real surprise. … [Read more...]

Russian Clubs are Once Again Pursuing African Talents

Russian Football Premier League sides have, on occasion, been known to venture into Africa and sign players directly from the continent, something which many other top flight leagues will not risk due to their unproven ability to adapt to a new league and nation. Signing young and unproven players from Africa gives the club the opportunity to get new players at low prices and low wages, meaning the upside is huge if they suceed and the risk is small. When signing 18-year-old Ivorian striker … [Read more...]

Maxime Lestienne and Alex Song Face Disciplinary Action in Kazan

The leading players from Rubin Kazan are prepared to send their expensive newcomers to the reserve team. The patience of the leaders is over. After the first defeat of 2017 away to Ural, the situation in Rubin has heated up. The clubs veteran leaders, Sergey Ryzhikov, Gokdeniz Karadeniz and Oleg Kuzmin on Wednesday arranged a squad meeting arranged to discuss the behaviour of Maxime Lestienne and Alex Song. The situation heated up so much, that manager Javi Gracia had to cancel morning … [Read more...]

Aleksandr Hleb and the Second Chance in Samara

Former Belarus international Aleksandr Hleb made the news recently as he was announced as a new signing at Krylia Sovetov Samara. Now 35-years-old, this is his second spell at the club, having joined them in 2012 following his release from a disastrous spell at Barcelona. With an illustrious European career behind him, with stints at Stuttgart, Barcelona, Wolfsburg and Birmingham, Hleb is most fondly remembered for a three year spell with Premier League giants Arsenal. Joining in 2005 from … [Read more...]

RFPL Winter Transfer Window – Team by Team Summary Part 3

Terek Grozny Terek had perhaps one of the quietest windows in the whole league. However, they did some business, and the first move raised eyebrows everywhere, as they struck early to sign Kosovan winger Bernard Berisha from Anzhi. While it was thought he would be leaving Anzhi in the window, many, including us at RFN, think very highly of Berisha, and to see Terek seal his signing was a huge shock, as a move to one of the larger sides would not have been a surprise considering his clear … [Read more...]

RFPL Winter Transfer Window – Team by Team Summary Part 2

Lokomotiv Moscow Lokomotiv have had one of the better windows in the league. The main event for them was keeping hold of wonderkid Aleksey Miranchuk. For the whole window, a saga of will he, won’t he rumours were in the press as Rubin Kazan sniffed around. In the end, Lokomotiv’s high asking price put off Rubin, who will try to pick up the youngster for free in the summer. However, Loko did lose club legend Aleksandr Samedov to city rivals Spartak, while clearing out some deadweight in Ezekiel … [Read more...]

RFPL Winter Transfer Window – Team by Team Summary Part 1

The Russian transfer window closed at the end of February, and as we have finally gathered the full overview over a long and hectic winter, it is time to evaluate how the 16 Russian Football Premier League clubs did in the transfer market. In the span of three articles, which will be published in the following days, we'll evaluate all the clubs and grade their dealings. Amkar Perm Amkar started the window in the worst possible fashion, losing Russian prospects Aleksandr Selikhov and Georgy … [Read more...]

Ones To Watch – Ilzat Akhmetov

Biography Name: Ilzat Akhmetov DOB/Age: 31/12/1997 – 19 years old Club: Rubin Kazan Position: Attacking Midfielder Nationality: Russia Career to Date Akhmetov is a homegrown academy player, who came through the ranks at Rubin Kazan from a young age. Although he was born in Kyrgyzstan, his family moved to Kazan while he was still a toddler, and so he is eligible to represent Russia at international level. An attacking midfielder by trade, Akhmetov impressed at reserve level for Rubin, … [Read more...]