Grozny’s Relationship With Brazil Growing Ever Stronger

Second, only to Spartak Moscow, Akhmat Grozny (formerly Terek Grozny) have had the most Brazilian players in the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL), totalling 15 including their three new signings this summer. In their Premier League history starting in 2005, with a two year gap until 2008, Akhmat have signed 61 players from foreign countries (excluding former Soviet nations Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Turkmenistan and Ukraine), and so with 15 of these being Brazilian, that means … [Read more...]

Krasnodar’s Youth Academy Bearing Its First Fruits

Just nine years ago, FC Krasnodar was formed. Founded and owned by billionaire businessman Sergey Galitsky, the intentions were not to go gung-ho with their money like the then free-spending Anzhi Makhachkala but to build from the bottom. This included the installation of a youth academy, which would recruit boys of all ages, with the intention that one day, half of the first team would be graduates of the school, and so the Krasnodar Academy was born. The Krasnodar Academy is situated next … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Rubin Kazan

This time last year, Rubin Kazan fans were filled with hope and promise. Their team had spent €40m on transfers, and appointed Spaniard Javi Gracia as their coach, but come the end of the season, they were languishing in 9th place, with Gracia working on borrowed time. A month later, Gracia was gone, and after lengthy rumour, Rubin's legendary manager from 2001-2013, Kurban Berdyev, rejoined the club after two highly successful seasons at FC Rostov. Berdyev is not alone in making the swap … [Read more...]

Season Preview: FC Ufa

Last season, FC Ufa achieved the highest league finish in the club’s history, as they surprised everyone to finish 7th place. A club with modest resources and a small squad, excellent management from two top young coaches, Viktor Goncharenko and Sergey Semak was key to their achievement. Operating with a 5-3-2 or 5-4-1, they were often a thorn in the side of the larger teams, using their excellent defensive co-oridination and lightning quick counter attacks, spearheaded by Kehinde Fatai, to … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Anzhi Makhachkala

In the winter transfer window last season, Anzhi Makhachkala signed 25 players and swapped experienced Czech manager Pavel Vrba for SKA Khabarovsk boss Aleksandr Grigoryan. Most people expected Anzhi to be relegated after this, but surprisingly the squad and manager gelled quite quickly and put together some decent performances, including a relegation six pointer win against Orenburg, and resilient 0-0 draws against FC Krasnodar and Lokomotiv Moscow, which ultimately saw them avoid the … [Read more...]

Ones To Watch – Fedor Chalov

Biography Name: Fedor Chalov D.O.B/Age: 10th April 1998/19 years old Club: CKSA Moscow Positions: Striker Nationality: Russia Career To Date Fedor Chalov has had a whirlwind last nine months, which has seen him go from an unknown teenager, to one of Russia’s biggest hopes for the future. Having not done much at U21 level for CSKA, Chalov caught the attention of the senior coaches with a string of good performances in the UEFA Youth League, grabbing two assists at home against Tottenham in … [Read more...]

Javi Gracia at Rubin Kazan – What Went Wrong?

Last week, Rubin Kazan sacked Spanish head coach Javi Gracia, before replacing him with their legendary manager from 2001-2013, Kurban Berdyev, who recently enjoyed two-and-a-half hugely successful seasons at FC Rostov. Gracia’s appointment last summer as Rubin’s first foreign coach generated a lot of excitement. His reputation of being a bright young coach preceded him, and he had pulled off a series of impressive results with former side Malaga. He gained positive marks when he arrived … [Read more...]

Ones To Watch – Aleksandr Golovin

Biography Name: Aleksandr Golovin DOB/Age: 30/05/1996 – 21 years old Club: CSKA Moscow Position: Central midfielder Nationality: Russia Career To Date When Aleksandr Golovin made his debut for the Russian national team in July 2015, he had never started a league game for his club side CSKA Moscow. His call up raised eyebrows in Russia. Why did he deserve a call up the national team aged 19 and with just 121 senior minutes to his name? Just 15 minutes after coming on as a sub in the … [Read more...]

Evaluating the performance of Rubin’s €40m summer signings

Last summer Rubin Kazan spent €40m, according to Transfermarkt, on a whole host of big name signings from Europe, but it was to no avail as under the management of Spaniard Javi Gracia, Rubin struggled to finish in 9th place, with many of their signings -  though not all of them - failing to make an impact during the season. So just how well spent was that €40m? Alex Song - Free transfer from FC Barcelona Perhaps the most high profile of all the players who joined, with experience at … [Read more...]

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...]