Who is the Greatest Player to Ever Feature in the Russian Football Premier League?

This spring, Russia is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the kick off of the first edition of the Russian Football Premier League. Since then, 3569 players have plied their trade at clubs competing in the league, some with greater success than others, and that has naturally given birth to quite a few arguments about which player was the greatest. In honour of the anniversary, Russian sports newspaper Sport-Express, decided to find out once and for all. By asking ten different coaches … [Read more...]

Nikolai Starostin: My Football Years (Chapter 2) – Captain’s Memory

Nikolai Petrovich Starostin (1902-1996) was a Soviet football player and official. He was the co-founder of Spartak Moscow, which turned into the most popular club in the USSR and Russia, and worked as its head administrator for most of his life. Starostin is considered one of the most legendary and universally revered figures of Soviet football. In 1986, he published the book ‘My Football Years’ with Lev Filatov, and even well into his eighties, he retained a keen understanding of the game, … [Read more...]

Nikolai Starostin: My Football Years (Chapter 1) – A Hint to the Future

Nikolai Petrovich Starostin (1902-1996) was a Soviet football player and official. He was the co-founder of Spartak Moscow, which turned into the most popular club in the USSR and Russia, and worked as its head administrator for most of his life. Starostin is considered one of the most legendary and universally revered figures of Soviet football. In 1986, he published the book 'My Football Years' with Lev Filatov, and even well into his eighties, he retained a keen understanding of the game, … [Read more...]

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...]

Erik Hagen – The Defender Made of Stone With a Heart of Gold

Born in Veme, not too far from Norway’s capital Oslo, Erik Hagen played his first senior seasons for local clubs Jevnaker and Hønefoss before taking the step to the Norwegian top flight, Tippeligaen, and Strømsgodset in 1998, a club located in Drammen a few kilometres outside of Oslo. Here, Hagen stayed for two years before eventually leaving the club after they got relegated in 2000 to try his luck in the capital with Vålerenga. Hagen quickly gained popularity at Vålerenga for being the … [Read more...]

From Abramyan to Akinfeev – Top Eleven Goalkeepers With the Most Clean Sheets in the Soviet and Russian Top Flight

With CSKA Moscow's 4-0 victory at home against Tom Tomsk last Sunday, Igor Akinfeev recorded his 161st clean sheet in the Russian Football Premier League, a new record in the league and one more than the legendary Lev Yashin. With Akinfeev's incredible achievement, it is time to look back, and we give you the ten goalkeepers with the most clean sheets in the Russian and Soviet top flight. 10: Alyosha Abramyan (1965 – 1978: Ararat Yerevan) & Sergey Kramarenko (1964 – 1984: Neftchi Baku … [Read more...]

Poise, Persistence, Perfection – An Ode to Anatoliy Tymoshchuk

Football is filled with contentious personalities. Hard-man defenders, stroppy strikers and mercurial midfielders are as common within the game as corner flags and crossbars. It’s rare that a day passes within the sport without one or more of the participants creating controversy for the press and problems for their management. Which is why we are allowed to shed more than a few tears when a true gentleman of the sport hangs up his boots. These few good men keep our faith in the game alive. … [Read more...]

Keisuke Honda – The Emperor Who Lost his Way

Ever since Japan participated in their first World Cup in 1998, the Land of the Rising Sun has produced a number of excellent footballers. One of them, Keisuke Honda, made a name for himself in Russia, developing from a promising, yet unknown talent, into a world class player, able to fight with the big boys. However, as brilliant he was on the pitch, equally challenging he was off the pitch, where a cynical approach to business and an impeccable belief in own abilities made him leave the club … [Read more...]

The Russian Revolution at Sarrià

The 1991-92 campaign certainly causes mixed feelings to RCD Espanyol supporters. The departure of Head Coach Luís Aragonés at the end of the previous season had left “Los Pericos” adrift in their own sea of madness and the club’s board ended up deciding to bring in Ljubomir Petrovic as his replacement. “Ljupko” Petrovic arrived in Spain with an European Cup in his trophy cabinet after leading FK Crvena Zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) to glory a few months before in Bari (Italy) against the … [Read more...]

The Night CSKA Moscow put Barcelona and Pep Guardiola in Camp Nou

CSKA Moscow is not a club you would associate with fairytales. Soviet Top League and Russian Premier League champions a combined 13 times, the early 2000s saw CSKA emerge as a dominant force in Russian football, capped off by success in the 2005 UEFA Cup – but it wasn’t always like this. Prior to the significant investment of Evgeniy Giner and Roman Abramovich-owned firms like Sibneft and Aeroflot, CSKA Moscow was an altogether different club. READ MORE: Russian Club Owners: Evgeniy … [Read more...]