The Retirement of St. Petersburg’s Prodigal Son, Aleksandr Kerzhakov

Nothing warms the hearts of football fans like seeing a local lad ‘come good’ for his boyhood club. Steven Gerrard in the Liverpool red. Fransesco Totti turning out in Roma’s claret and gold. In an increasingly disloyal game these flashes of tribal faith resonate. They offer glimmers of hope in a sport too often darkened by cynicism. Beyond the obvious visual appeal of homegrown talent flying the hometown flag is something deeper and more valuable. But to journey to the heart of this phenomenon … [Read more...]

The Last Time They Met: Slovakia – Russia (2011)

Russia will look to build on Vasily Berezutski’s last-gasp equaliser against England when they face Slovakia in Lille. Slovakia, following their opening game loss to Wales, need to win but it does not bode well for them – if recent head-to-head records are anything to go by. The two teams last played on 26th May 2014, before the World Cup in Brazil, in St Petersburg and Russia won the friendly 1-0. Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored the only goal of the game in the 82nd minute to give victory to … [Read more...]

Slutsky’s Choice Part IV: Forwards

After looking at the goalkeepers, defenders, and midfielders, our fourth part of 'Slutsky’s Choice' covers Russia’s forwards. Unlike the other parts of the team, the current goal scoring contingent is less developed with a shallower pool talent. Historically, Russia possessed forwards that performed to varying degrees of success. Igor Kolyvanov, Vladimir Beschasnykh, and Sergey Kyriakov formed the core of the first generation in the wake of the Soviet Union. Their success fluctuated after … [Read more...]

Kerzhakov Eyeing Top Job at Zenit St. Petersburg

Russia's greatest goal scorer Aleksandr Kerzhakov has ambitions to one day become the manager of Zenit St. Petersburg, according to a leading club official. Speaking in an exclusive interview with news agency TASS, Zenit general director Maxim Mitrofanov revealed Kerzhakov’s desire to one day take the reins of the St. Petersburg club. Speaking on the topic of what former greats like Andrei Arshavin and Kerzhakov’s next steps could be, Mitrofanov told TASS: "Kerzhakov, unlike Arshavin, … [Read more...]

Can Kerzhakov Score His Way Back to Sbornaya?

Aleksandr Kerzhakov after his goal against South Korea at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. On Wednesday evening, Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored twice to help FC Zürich qualify for the Swiss cup final, beating titleholders FC Sion 3-0. The goals against FC Sion, came just three weeks after Kerzhakov opened his account for Zürich when he secured a crucial 2-1 victory away against Luzern. Kerzhakov joined Zürich on a six-month loan in January after … [Read more...]

Why Kerzhakov could be left out in the cold for Zenit and Russia in 2016

When Aleksander Kerzhakov scored in Russia’s 4-2 win over Belarus last summer, he could never have predicted that it would prove to be his last goal for club or country. But after returning to Zenit St Petersburg, Russia’s all-time top scorer was hit with the news: Andre Villas-Boas no long saw him as part of his first team plans. In and out of the team over the previous campaign and rarely seeing eye-to-eye with AVB, Kerzhakov was still shocked, taking to Instagram to express his surprise … [Read more...]

How far can Russia go at Euro 2016?

Although the Russian national team have a few more days to wait until they discover who their Euro 2016 group opponents will be, there is growing optimism that Leonid Slutskiy’s men can perform much better than they did in Brazil two years ago. The 2014 World Cup was a tournament to forget for Russia as they crashed out at the group stage without recording a single victory. Draws against South Korea and Algeria generated the most disappointment from fans and pundits who expected Fabio Capello … [Read more...]

A look at Russia’s Road to Euro 2016

Last month, Russia qualified for UEFA Euro 2016 in France. This marks the fourth straight time Russia has qualified since 2004 and the fifth since 1996. In addition to the campaigns at Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup, this also marks the first time, since 1992, Russia has qualified for three major tournaments in a row. Unlike the World Cup, Russia has a more respectable history at the European Championship. The Soviet Union were the inaugural champions of the tournament in 1960 and reached … [Read more...]

What Does the Future Hold for Aleksandr Kerzhakov?

For the first time in his football career Zenit goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov, the younger brother of striker Aleksandr, is the more successful of the two brothers. After some shaky performances by Russian international Yuri Lodygin, Mikhail has been head coach André Villas-Boas’ first choice in Zenit’s last two games, two games where he has delivered solid performances between the posts for the Blue-White-Sky Blues, as Zenit often call themselves. Mikhail Kerzhakov has, with a career that … [Read more...]

RPL Week 8: Around the Match Day

Even a week of international football couldn’t keep Zenit and their manager André Villas-Boas out of the media spotlight. There was plenty of speculation before the international break about his future but the Portuguese cleared the mist and confirmed that he would be leaving the club next summer when his contract expires. It has been well-known that Villas-Boas has been unhappy in Russia, from the clubs transfer policy to league regulations. Basically, everything. At first, it seemed like … [Read more...]