Nikita Medvedev – Record Breaker

On the 1st of November 2015, Nikita Medvedev played his final game for his hometown club, Zenit-Izhevsk, as they triumphed 2-0 in the PFL (the 3rd tier of Russian football) against Nosta Novotroitsk.

In the 18 months since he signed for his new side FC Rostov, Medvedev has made his league, cup and European debut, played against the three biggest sides in Russia, Sparta Prague and Manchester United, and broken the biggest goalkeeping record in Russian football. Excluding a cup defeat to Dinamo Moscow where Rostov put out a team made almost fully of youth players and lost 4-0, Medvedev’s statistics are quite outstanding. The 22 year old has played 17 matches in all competitions, conceding just six goals, and keeping 11 clean sheets.

Just this past weekend, the last of April 2017, Medvedev broke a 17 year old record set by former Lokomotiv Moscow goalkeeper Ruslan Nigmatullin in 2000, by keeping the longest spell of consecutive minutes in the Russian Footbal Premier League without conceding a goal – 952 minutes, beating Nigmatullin’s previous record of 939 minutes.

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This astonishing record is made even more amazing when looking at a number of factors. Firstly, the length of the record. Overall in this run, Medvedev has kept now ten consecutive clean sheets, plus the 52 minutes after the last goal he conceded, scored by Chisamba Lungu in a 1-0 defeat to Ural way back in November 2016, that is 151 days – five whole months –  as of the 1-0 win against Amkar this past weekend, and still counting.

Next, the calibre of opponents faced were by no means all weak, with Zenit, CSKA, Lokomotiv, Krasnodar and Spartak all failing to score past Medvedev in this incredible run of goalkeeping mastery. Rostov actually went on a run of five consecutive 0-0 draws.

Considering the fact that Medvedev only came into the team thanks to an injury to first choice goalkeeper Soslan Dzhanaev, Medvedev has only played 1,170 minutes in the league this season, meaning that his 952 minute streak without conceding makes up a whopping 81% of his total minutes played this season.

Medvedev’s defence must take some credit, though in the ten matches, Rostov have used  different combinations of their five man defence, the most common comprising of Terentjev – Kudryashov, Navas, Mevlja – Kalachev, which was only used for three matches. In fact, not a single defender also played in all ten of the full matches in which Medvedev kept a clean sheet – meaning he is the only consistent component of this magnificent record.

Rostov as a side broke two further records in this streak. They became the first team in the national championship since its inception in 1936, to play ten matches in a row without conceding a goal. Previously, the record was nine matches and was held jointly by four teams: Krylia Sovetov (1949-1950), Shakhtar Donetsk (1966), Dynamo Kyiv twice (1971, 1980) and Lokomotiv Moscow (1999-2000). The 952 minutes without conceding is also the longest dry spell in the history of the championships.

Upon breaking the record, former owner of the record Ruslan Nigmatullin said:

Congratulations to Medvedev on beating my record. Unfortunately, they have to exist in order to beat them. Once, I broke Pchelnikov’s record. now he beat my 17 year old record. I loved the record, and now I will love being second.

While his team-mate Soslan Dzhanaev said:

I know the capabilities of Nikita, and for me it’s no surprise that this young goalkeeper broke the record for the longest dry spell in the Russian championships. He deserved it with his work and attitude.

Medvedev’s goalkeeping heroics have not gone unnoticed outside of Russia, and Life.ru have reported that French side AS Monaco have been scouting the youngster. With Dzhanev still out injured, Medvedev has the opportunity to further extend his record, and with Rostov’s four remaining matches against Arsenal Tula, Rubin Kazan, Anzhi and Orenburg, it’s not unthinkable to say that Medvedev could play the whole Spring half of the season without conceding a single goal in the league, and only look back to Henrik Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Vyacheslav Karavaev as the players who blotch his 2017 all competitions record.

Whatever happens, Medvedev will go down in history, perhaps for another 16 years, and still at 22 years of age, surely there are big things to come for this young goalkeeper, whether that be in Russia or in Europe.

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Author: David Sansun

Arsenal and Rubin Kazan fan. Possibly too optimistic for Russian football which means I’m left disappointed a lot.

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