Five Stars With a Past in Russian Football

Since the formation of the Russian Football Premier League in 1992, a long range of quality players have amazed fans around the country. However, with so many players coming through the ranks, some more memorable than others, others more profitable for bookmakers, it is easy to forget a couple, especially for people who don't follow the league closely. Therefore, we have dived into the history books to find five superstars you might not know played in Russia at some point in their … [Read more...]

Dinamo Moscow’s Worries Deepens

Ever since the 11-time Soviet champions Dinamo Moscow were penalized for breaching UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations last summer, the Blue-Whites have been in constant turmoil. Last season infamously ended in Dinamo leaving the top flight for the first time in the club's 93-year history, and this season the proud Moscow side have been demoted to the deep seas of the Football National League (FNL), the second tier, where clubs constantly struggle to stay above water. There were those … [Read more...]

RFN Podcast: State Influence, Dinamo Moscow’s Recovery And Youth Development In Russian Football

Host Thomas Giles is joined by website editor Toke Theilade and Andrew Flint. On this podcast the trio discuss the state's influence on Russian football and whether this is a good thing for the future of the game in the country. They connect this issue with the resurgence of Dinamo Moscow in the second tier after last season's relegation before talking about youth development in the country - a frequent question from listeners and … [Read more...]

Büttner Returns to Dinamo in Times of Turmoil

Before Alexander Büttner started for Dinamo Moscow’s first team yesterday, the last time he had worn the blue-white kit with the famous logo on the chest was on August 2 last year, when the Blue-Whites drew 1-1 away against city rivals Lokomotiv Moscow. Back then, he shared the dressing room with stars such as Mathieu Valbuena, Yuri Zhirkov, Aleksey Ionov, Balasz Dzsudzsak, Igor Denisov and Vladimir Gabulov. Between the two games 438 days has passed, and the outlook of Dinamo today is remarkably … [Read more...]

Kokorin and Smolov – The Tale of Dinamo’s Two Jewels

Two years ago, Aleksandr Kokorin had just finished his best-ever season for Dinamo Moscow. The then 23-year-old striker had scored ten goals in the league and another four in the World Cup qualification campaign. Kokorin went to score another at the World Cup in Brazil, where he was one of few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing Russian campaign. Meanwhile, his teammate and buddy Fyodor Smolov watched the tournament at home in Moscow together with his model girlfriend, the former Miss … [Read more...]

The Fall of Dinamo Moscow

They lay in 14th, level on points with the relegation zone. This wouldn’t be much of a concern for the fans if this was the start of the season. But it isn’t. 18 games have been played. “We’ll be fine, we’ll gain some form” the fans tell each other, trying to breed confidence into their souls. They know they’re fighting a lost cause though. There is only so long they can convince themselves they’ll get out of this mess. Time is running out. The weeks pass by and so do the games. And yet, … [Read more...]

Aleksey Smertin – From Siberia to Chelsea and Back Again

Born in 1975, Aleksey Smertin is regarded as one of the most recognisable Russian footballers having played for both Lokomotiv and Dinamo Moscow in Russia, as well as spells abroad with Bordeaux and Chelsea. He is now a Deputy Executive Director for Dinamo Moscow. Father figure Smertin was born in Barnaul, Southern Siberia. Like many, his dream was being a footballer. But unlike a lot of aspiring footballers, it was his Dad that was the focal force in making Aleksey, and his brother … [Read more...]

Three Rounds Left – The fight to escape the RFPL drop

With three matches left to play, tension at the wrong end of the Russian Premier League has reached breaking point. If no team’s fate is sealed this mid-week, this coming weekend promises to be the most nerve wrenching affair with the bottom six all due to play one another. Five seasons back when the league underwent their restructuring to fall into line with the European season schedule (Autumn-Spring), the relegation playoffs were introduced to add an extra dimension to the domestic end of … [Read more...]

RFN Podcast: Alenichev safe at Spartak? Dinamo’s youthful policy & Jorge Mendes plus why our clubs fail in Europe

Thomas Giles is once again joined by Toke Theilade and Andrew Flint to discuss the issues at the top of the agenda in Russian football. The trio discuss whether club legend Dmitri Alenichev is the right man for Spartak Moscow and the new youthful squad at Dinamo Moscow as well as their deal with super agent Jorge Mendes. Finally they ask why Russian clubs have failed in European football in recent years and whether anything can be done to improve the … [Read more...]

Russia’s Dream of Three Champions League Spots

I tend to provoke my inner green eyed monster when it comes to watching Champions League football, especially in these latter stages. It’s been six years now since a Russian Football Premier League club has made it to the continent’s show piece quarter final stage, the last time before that was 20 years ago, and unsurprisingly we haven’t seen a semi-final yet. As many Russian football fans can attest to, there has been little to cheer in this regard of late. Each of the last few years I’m filled … [Read more...]