Giuliano: Zenit St Petersburg’s Ephemeral Star

Giuliano Victor de Paula’s presence came to grace St Petersburg briefly; after only one full season with Zenit, he has now been sold to Fenerbahçe in Turkey. Despite a highly successful year in Russia which saw the Brazilian’s market value increase almost twofold, he appears to have left for the same modest €7m he arrived for. Mircea Lucescu’s star player found himself not especially needed under Roberto Mancini, and the fact, not least the manner of his departure, undoubtedly leaves some fans … [Read more...]

Reforming the Trans-Siberian Football League

The Football National League is the biggest football league in the world according to geographic area, covering over 4,500 miles as-the-crow-flies and even crosses eight time zones. Due to the size of the league and other problems synonymous with Russian football such as fiscal instability, political corruption and systemic mismanagement, many clubs - as previously explored - do not face a race to thrive, but a battle to survive. READ PART ONE: Problems with the Trans-Siberian Football … [Read more...]

Weighted Ages For RFPL Teams After 5 Rounds

In what is going to be a regular feature, I’m going to give you some curious stats about RFPL. I developed a measure called “weighted season-average age”, which is more precise than the simple squad average age because it reflects actual usage of the players rather than simple presence in the squad list. Here’s how a given team’s weighted season-average age is calculated: First, you calculate the season-average age for all players in the squad. Season-average age is the average of a … [Read more...]

RFPL 2017/2018 – Who Has the Best Kit?

SKA-Khabarovsk Premier Liga newcomers, like some other teams, decided not to bother and use last year's kits. They probably figured that nobody saw it last season anyway, as the coverage of the FNL is almost criminally low. The kit itself is nothing special, but there is nothing to criticize either. I personally like their massive badge, which looks appropriate on this empty T-shirt. FC Tosno The club from the Leningrad Oblast, founded in 2013, still hasn't built its own identity. … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Spartak Moscow

Since the elation of last season’s championship win, Massimo Carrera has understandably kept a steady ship during the 2017/18 off-season, overseeing merely two incomings and sanctioning only two senior departures, at the time of writing. The club’s first Russian title in sixteen years may have been a long and agonising drought, but was worth the wait for the fans of the Red-Whites, with the victory Spartak’s 10th Russian championship victory, extending the club’s record as the most successful … [Read more...]

Revolution in Kazan – A New Direction for Rubin

Rubin Kazan, the pride of Tatarstan, is no stranger to changes. Last summer, the club appointed Spaniard Javi Gracia from Malaga as new head coach, and they became Russia's biggest spenders as they brought in ten new players, including stars such as Alex Song from FC Barcelona and former Belgian prodigy Maxime Lestienne. Now the club has undergone a new revolution, and it is even more ambitious than the last. The appointment of Gracia was an attempt to westernise and advance the club to an … [Read more...]

Cherchesov’s Old Grudges Hinders Russia’s Chances at the Confederations Cup

When head coach of the Russian national team Stanislav Cherchesov announced his preliminary squad for the upcoming Confederations Cup on May 15, it surprised many that Lokomotiv Moscow's Igor Denisov had been overlooked. The 33-year-old UEFA Cup winner just finished one of his personal best seasons in a long time, and at the beginning of this month, he even scored the winning goal in the cup final against FC Ural. Nevertheless, Cherchesov overlooked him, instead opting for his teammate Dmitry … [Read more...]

What’s at Stake in the Last Round of the RFPL?

On Sunday afternoon, the last game of the 2016/2017 Russian Football Premier League season is played. After 232 games, some more exciting than others, it is time to close the curtain with the last eight games of the regular season. While Spartak Moscow have already secured the championship, and Tom Tomsk have been relegated, there is still plenty left to play for at both the top and bottom of the league. However, before we dig into the various battles in the league, we need to look at the rules … [Read more...]

Russian Football Premier League Week 29: Betting Advice and Previews

From this spring, we are happy to announce that we have changed the format of the RFN Betting Advice. Instead of only covering a few games, from now on we’ll give you previews to all eight RFPL games each round, with an extensive look at one game, the Game of the Round.  In these previews, we’ll give you everything you need to know about the top flight, from injuries to form as well as all the chaotic aspects that surround the beautiful game in Russia.  We have previously proven that we … [Read more...]

Nikolai Starostin: My Football Years (chapter 7) – The Consistency of Mastery

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...]