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...]

Brian Idowu – How Russia Lost a Promising Talent

At a time where more and more foreigners are naturalized to fill the spots on the Russian national team, and Russian youngsters struggle to earn playing time in the Russian Football Premier League, it is irony at its cruelest that the country could soon end up losing one of the few youngsters who has actually taken the difficult journey from talent to RFPL regular. The player is Amkar Perm’s defender Brian Idowu who has caught the eye of the Super Eagles. Idowu’s father is Nigerian while his … [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...]

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...]

Russian Reactions to the Europa League Games and Draw

Rostov - Sparta Prague (5-1 on agg) Rostov will face Manchester United in the Round of 16 of the Europa League after a comfortable aggregate victory over Sparta Prague. A resounding 4-0 victory in Russia meant that only a major collapse in Prague would prevent Ivan Daniliants’ side from progressing. Dmitriy Poloz fired Rostov ahead but the 10-man hosts equalised seven minutes from time via former CSKA Moscow defender Vyacheslav Karavaev. Head coach Daniliants was pleased by his side’s … [Read more...]

Preview: Zenit St. Petersburg – Anderlecht

Zenit (0) v (2) Anderlecht, Thursday 6pm GMT, St Petersburg First Leg Mircea Lucescu didn’t fare quite so well with reacquainting his players with competitive action after the enforced winter layoff as a thunderbolt double from Frank Acheampong put the Belgians marginally in control of this tie. Zenit were ponderous, wasteful in possession and disjointed in attack, so there is plenty to work on ahead of the return leg if Russia’s strongest squad left in Europe is to continue their … [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...]

Anderlecht – Zenit Preview: Can Zenit Continue Their European March?

After winning five out of their six Europa League matches this season, Zenit found themselves comfortably on top of Group D, and more importantly, through to the Round of 32. Their opponents, Anderlecht, on the other hand, came second in a group that featured Saint-Étienne, Mainz 05 and Gabala FK, with Saint-Étienne taking the top spot. Today we take a look at Zenit’s chances of progression into the next round of the tournament, and the physical condition of the team coming in to the first leg, … [Read more...]

Branislav Ivanovic: Serbia’s Silent Hero & the Big Brother I Never Had

As he went rising in the air for a deadly double to kick-start the Blues’ 3-1 win at Anfield, Branislav Ivanović also rose to the occasion, inadvertently stepping under the spotlights to make his presence known in a self-absorbed British football world. From a Serbian point of view, Ivanović’s brace in that Champions League quarter-final was the burst of frustration from the man who was constantly being thrown on the margins – initially by Avram Grant, to less extent by Luis Felipe Scolari … [Read more...]

Editorial: Dzyuba’s Captaincy Shows Departure from Zenit Traditions

”I’m disappointed as hell,” a mate of mine who is a lifelong Zenit St. Petersburg supporter texted me after the club had appointed Artyom Dzyuba captain. “Those people who run the club now,” he continued, “they pay no respect to fans and to fans’ opinion. Dzyuba as captain is the lowest point we could reach.” The fact that a Muscovite and former Spartak Moscow star had taken over the most honorable job in his football club was clearly more than my friend could take. Dzyuba joined Spartak when … [Read more...]