How have the summer RFPL departees fared?

If there is such a thing as a circle of life in football, it is that players move around. When one player joins a club another has to go, and the other way around. This is obviously also the case in Russia, where we saw several big profiles leave the league last summer. These players have now been away for six months, but how have the departees fared at their new clubs?


Giuliano: Zenit St. Petersburg to Fenerbahce – €7 million

The Brazilian impressed everybody when he joined Zenit prior to last season. The midfielder quickly established himself as one of the best players in the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL), and he even made his way into the Brazilian national team. However, his form dropped in the spring, and once Roberto Mancini signed with Zenit, Giuliano’s destiny was sealed.

After a few weeks of unhappiness, Giuliano moved to Turkish giants Fenerbahce in the middle of August. There he currently plays alongside Zenit icon Martin Skrtel as well as Russian international Roman Neustädter and former Dinamo Moscow star Mathieu Valbuena. Giuliano’s time in Turkey has been quite successful, and he’s currently Fenerbahce’s top scorer with eight league goals in 16 matches. He’s even scored against fierce rivals Besiktas while he maintains his spot on the Brazilian national team.


Jonathas: Rubin Kazan to Hannover 96 – €9 million

Brazilian striker Jonathas was an instant hit after he joined Rubin Kazan prior to the 2016/2017 season. In his debut season, he scored nine league goals, and he often carried Rubin’s fortune on his back. That seemed to continue this season as he scored four league goals in the first five games. However, due to the financial problems that hit Rubin at the end of the summer, Jonathas had to be sold, and he opted for a move to Hannover 96 and the Bundesliga.

Since joining Hannover, Jonathas has struggled with injuries, which explains why he only has 430 Bundesliga minutes to his name halfway through the season. The Brazilian has however made the most of his playing time, and in his first seven appearances, he has scored three goals. These goals were scored against RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04, which proves that Jonathas is able to compete with the best when he’s free of injuries.


Javi Garcia: Zenit St. Petersburg to Real Betis – €1.5 million

The Spaniard, whom Zenit bought in from Benfica, was an important, although perhaps underwhelming part of the St. Petersburg outfit for two seasons before moving to Real Betis and the La Liga before this season.

In Spain Javi Garcia has continued this problems. He has received plenty of playing time with a total of 1162 La Liga minutes spread out over 15 fixtures, but he is yet to truly impress. At best, Javi Garcia has been average, but so has Real Betis, who lie tenth in La Liga.

Javi Garcia ahead of captaining Zenit in the Europa League aganst Videoton. Source: Вячеслав Евдокимов.

Nicolas Lombaerts: Zenit St. Petersburg to Oostende – €1.5 million

The Belgian international was another star Zenit said goodbye to this summer. After faithful service for more than a decade, Lombaerts lost the fight for playing time in Zenit’s central defence and chose to leave. Lombaerts remains perhaps the greatest foreigner to ever pull on the blue-white-sky blue jersey, and his passion and leadership is missed in St. Petersburg.

READ MORE: Lombaert’s Legacy

Belgian side Oostende is now the club enjoying the services of Lombaerts. He has started, and played full time, in 18 games this season, but his side has been disappointing. Oostende have only gathered 22 points in their first 20 games, and they are thus fighting to avoid relegation. The defence has been relatively stable though as they have only conceded 26 goals so far, which is sixth best in the league.


Zoran Tosic: CSKA Moscow to Partizan Belgrade – free transfer

After seven successful seasons in Russia, CSKA Moscow icon Zoran Tosic left the club this summer. During his time in Russia, Tosic was one of the best midfielders in the country, and he managed three Russian championships, two cup victories and a Super Cup victory while playing for the Army Men.

For CSKA’s fans it was a sad day when Tosic left as he was one of the club’s most influential players for more than half a decade. He’ll especially be remembered for his incredible 2013/2014 season, where he scored a personal record high 11 league goals. This included the sole goal in the crucial 1-0 victory against local rivals Lokomotiv Moscow on Match Day 30, which secured CSKA the championship, one point ahead of Zenit.

Now, Tosic is one of the stars in the Serbian Superliga, where he plays for his boyhood club, Partizan. Unfortunately, for Tosic, Partizan are only second in the league, nine points behind arch rivals Red Star, but he has performed nicely. In his first 16 games in all tournaments for the club, he has scored nine goals, and he seems to have settled well despite the more humble surroundings.

Tosic scoring for CSKA against Terek Grozny in early 2014/15. Source: Дмитрий Паршин.

Naldo: FC Krasnodar to Espanyol – €2.5 million

At the end of the 2016 summer transfer window, Brazilian central defender Naldo moved from Sporting CP to FC Krasnodar for €4.5 million. The idea was to give Naldo an important role in the central defence alongside Andreas Granqvist. However, although Naldo delivered some convincing performances along the way, he never really settled in the Southern Russia, and so he left Russia this summer. His destination was Espanyol and La Liga, but by the looks if it that was the wrong decision.

Halfway through the season, Naldo has only played 315 La Liga minutes, and he spends most of his time on the bench. Unless something changes drastically, it looks like the Brazilian could be forced to find a new club after the season by the latest.

Toke Møller Theilade

Author: Toke Møller Theilade

Brøndby supporter, groundhopper and more importantly Editor-in-Chief at As a hopeless romantic, I still believe Fyodor Smolov and Viktoria Lopyreva has a future together.

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