I’ve always wanted to write something about foreign players in RPL teams. How important are they to the teams they represent, whether the clubs really need them and are there really too many foreigners in the league? So, there will be a lot of numbers and statistics, but I hope to paint a picture of the number of foreigners per team:
This will be an ongoing series.
Let’s start from the bottom, with the clubs whose chances to stay in the league are very low.
16th place: Alania Vladikavkaz
12 foreigners – nearly half of a 27-men squad.
Let’s personalize them.
Welinton Souza Silva (DEF), 24 years
Former club: Flamengo (Brazil)
There were always lots of Brazilians in the RPL. But rarely could you see defenders in that number. Welinton, who even played in the Copa Libertadores for Flamengo, was loaned to Alania this winter, and has played 7 matches, spending 464 minutes on the pitch and scoring a goal against Krasnodar. As Alania conceded 19 goals in those 7 matches, not sure we can call his play successful. Bear in mind, Alania need a miracle to stay up. He will just go back to his former club.
Ognjen Vranjes (DEF), 23 years
Citizenship: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Former club: FC Krasnodar (Russia)
This was not an expected transfer. Media were even reporting that Sir Alex Ferguson was interested in the Bosnian international. Not sure if Valery Gazzaev is more respectable, but, anyway, Vranjes chose Alania. He was impressive before the winter break at Muslin’s team, and continued to do a good job in Vladikavkaz, even scoring twice (in the disgraceful 5-1 loss in Perm and against his former club), but lately has been as average as his team’s level. I think he will move to an another bottom-six side in the summer.
Akes Goore Dacosta (DEF), 28 years
Citizenship: Cote D’Ivoire
Former club: FC Moscow (Russia)
As the Alania squad seriously changed in the last couple of years, Akes Dacosta stayed with the club. He came to Alania from disbanded FC Moscow before their 2010 Premiership season, and even after relegation, with some bottom sides chasing him, decided to go to the FNL with his club. All two seasons he was a starting 11 player, taking part in Alania’s 2010-11 cup final and further European challenge (with an excellent second leg against Besiktas). However, after the promotion and according shopping, he inhabited Alania bench and only appeared 7 times, including being substituted twice and 2 matches when he went off the pitch. He will probably go down with Alania again.
Renan Bressan (MID), 24 years
Former club: BATE Borisov (Belarus)
I couldn’t believe when it was stated that a man who beaten Bayern (and even scored in a 3-1 win in Minsk) just this October, was going to fight relegation with Alania. But he was an excellent player for Gazzaev’s side who could have helped Alania survive this year.
But what works in Belarus’s championship, doesn’t work in the RPL. The only impact he made playing in Russia was two assists in the Mordovia and Krasnodar fixtures, and I can’t call his performance impressive. He’s not playing too often as well. For example, in Saint Petersburg, where Zenit ripped Alania 4-0, he was sitting on the bench the whole 90 minutes. He will also move somewhere (maybe even back to Belarus) in the summer.
Dejvidas Semberas (MID), 34 years
Former club: CSKA Moscow (Russia)
Semberas is a player who spent his whole career in Russia, and a big part of his career he worked with Valery Gazzaev – in Dinamo, CSKA and now Alania. A 2005 UEFA Cup winner and thrice Champion of Russia, as he became older, he decided to leave the CSKA bench and unite with his old friend.
He definitely has got the thing he was looking for, becoming the second most-playing man in Alania, taking part in 24 matches and spending more than 2500 minutes on the pitch. Didn’t expect this from him, and, for sure, there would be more goals in the Alania net without him.
Royston Drenthe (MID), 26 years
Former club: Everton FC (England)
The Alania’s second surprising reinforcement hadn’t played for half of a year, and remembering his reputation, there couldn’t have been hordes of teams chasing him. But he was wanted in the Caucasus and a starting 11 place was guaranteed there, so his choice is understandable.
Nevertheless, just as Bressan, he hasn’t shown all he could. The match against Mordovia was outstanding for him, but excluding this, he has only got one assist. He looks better than other Alania players, which doesn’t mean he helps the team more. He will most likely move away from Russia as playing there permanently after the Champions League and English Premier League appearances is not what he expected. I hope so.
Rudnei da Rosa (MID), 28 years
Former club: Cruzeiro (Brazil)
Again a Brazilian, again an unknown man. Surely, there are player transfers from less developed championships that are to be proud of (Noboa, Doumbia), but I can’t remember Brazilians making an impact here when they came as unknowns (Vagner Love is an exception). Especially when they are 28. So, apparently, there wasn’t much to expect.
However, he made 17 appearances for the club, with two assists. His level of play, again, reflected the whole Alania team.
Guess he’ll either stay or get back to Brazil. No other way.
Danilo Montecino Neco (FWD), 27 years
Former club: Jeju United (South Korea)
What would you expect from the 26-year-old Brazilian lad who came with Alania from the FNL and scored just 4 goals in a full season there? Nothing, me too.
But what he did in his first Premier League days was wonderful. First, he has become a starting 11 player. With 4 goals in the FNL. Second, after an unsuccessful performance from the whole team against Spartak on the 1st matchday, he scored 6 goals in 5 matches. SIX. IN FIVE. A little later he saved two points for his side, scoring three vital goals against Mordovia and Krylya Sovetov. But then – nothing. At all. The last time he scored was on October 6th. Lately he made two worthless assists as his team lost to Krylya and Krasnodar. But, of course, that doesn’t make sense anymore.
This is probably the only loaned foreign player at Gazzaev’s side who could be wanted by the other PL sides. Not the top ones, though, but I can imagine him in, for example, a Krasnodar or Rostov kit the next season. He also could return to Brazil or South Korea and would be wanted there, of course.
Diego Mauricio Machado de Brito (Diego Mauricio) (FWD), 21 years
Former club: Flamengo (Brazil)
And another acquisition from Brazil for Alania. But now a young and maybe perspective player who should have strengthened the team and weakened the club canteen. The second part is likely to be true, but the first one didn’t work out.
He has only made 12 league appearances, mostly coming from the bench on the 60-70th minute. Just a substitute, nobody will pay attention to his departure. Even if he finds the Vladikavkaz climate similar to Brazil.
Rodolfo Zelaya (FWD), 24 years
Former club: Allianza (Salvador)
In 2011, that was okay. Trying to find a forward anywhere and thus choosing a Salvador man. But then – what happened? In June 2012, the media was reporting that his contract had ended and that the club won’t prolong it. In December 2012, the media announced that Zelaya was returning. Had he been offered a new deal 5 months after he left the team or what?
Anyway, his only performance was taking 90 minutes in a CSKA fixture. Think he will be forgotten in the summer.
Tamas Priskin (FWD), 26 years
Former club: Ipswich Town (England)
That was an insult in winter 2012. Why should a Championship player move to the FNL? Even to the league high-flyers. That’s exactly it – money.
He saved a place in the squad after promotion, but performed as a usual team player. 4 goals in 21 matches – simple as that. Moreover, all of the goals were scored from penalties. But 4 assists are there as well.
Suppose he’s not going to play in FNL anymore and will leave the team in the summer.
Georgi Chanturia (FWD), 20 years
Former club: Vitesse Arnhem (Netherlands)
The last one, and, despite Drenthe’s swagger, Gazzaev’s most important signing (actually, loan). The Vitesse youngster, and, as I’ve heard, La Masia alumnus did really well at Vitesse, which are fighting for a Champions League place, but for some reason decided to drop it and lead Alania in the First Division. Good choice.
However, he’s really the best in the squad. Far better than everyone else. Which doesn’t change the situation. Again. Hopefully he will understand his mistake and won’t go to the RPL again. Want to wish him luck in the Netherlands (although he said Spartak were chasing him in the summer) and never to return here.
The conclusion: Alania’s foreigners were as weak as the whole team. Taking lots of “probably good enough” players doesn’t always help. Has it really ever helped, by the way?
Author: Pavel Borisov
Born and raised in Nizhny Novgorod, but live in Vancouver most of the time. Supported CSKA as a youngster, lost interest in football, and started supporting Spartak when I found it again. Hate the national team, however it sounds like. More about the surrounding stuff than football itself.