Lucescu – Failure or Scapegoat?

After a third-place finish last season, which meant Zenit St. Petersburg missed out on Champions League football for the second season in a row, they sacked Romanian head coach Mircea Lucescu after just one season at the club. The baggage left behind by his predecessor André Villas-Boas was no gift. If from a distance, say in Lucescu’s previous home Donetsk for example, it looked attractive and manageable, then only when you get closer could you begin to see the clear signs of aging and where … [Read more...]

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...]

Season Preview: Zenit St. Petersburg

When André Villas-Boas left Zenit at the end of the 2015/16 season, he was replaced by the man who had turned Shakhtar Donetsk into the dominant force of Ukrainian football, Mircea Lucescu. The Romanian even managed to win a trophy in his first official match at the club, as his side beat CSKA Moscow in the Russian Super Cup. This, however, turned out to be the only silverware Zenit would win all season, as they crashed out of the Europa League in the Round of 32, missed out on Champions League … [Read more...]

The €12m Men and Their Free Transfers to Zenit

€7 million and €5 million. That, according to Transfermarkt, is the value of Dmitry Poloz and Aleksandr Erokhin. Of course, this is an underestimation given the circumstances on the Russian market. Two Russian internationals, who have just finished the season of their careers with FC Rostov, with two more years left of their contract can’t cost that little, given the limit on foreign players and the lack of quality players with Russian passport. Nevertheless, there is only one club in the … [Read more...]

RFN Podcast – New Owners for Rubin and Mancini joins Zenit

Host Thomas Giles is joined by regular guests Andrew Flint and Toke Theilade who discuss the new owners at Rubin Kazan as well as Roberto Mancini's appointment as Zenit St Petersburg manager. https://soundcloud.com/russian-football-news/5th-june-2017-new-owners-for-rubin-and-mancini-joins-zenit Do not forget to submit your questions to the panel on the comments section on here, via Twitter, E-mail russianfootballnews1@gmail.com or on the Facebook page. You can subscribe to the Russian … [Read more...]

Which Players Have a Future at Mancini’s Zenit?

For the second season in a row, Zenit St. Petersburg missed out on qualification to Europe’s finest club tournament, the Champions League. The disappointing results in the Russian Football Premier League cost head coach Mircea Lucescu his job, and he has been replaced by Roberto Mancini. The ambitious Italian has a history of being aggressive in the transfer market, proved by the fact that he during his time with Inter brought in players such as Luis Figo, Esteban Cambiasso, Walter Samuel and … [Read more...]

Lombaerts’ Legacy

To be a centre back at Zenit St. Petersburg is like being the foundation stone that bolsters any one of St. Petersburg’s grand facades. While the service you perform is indispensible, adoration is largely reserved for those you support. Eyes linger on beauty for far longer than function, and in a city that rewards flamboyance and flair before all else, there is usually little adulation left for the quiet enabler. But magnificence without structure simply cannot exist. And as Nicolas Lombaerts … [Read more...]

Khodzhaniyazov Is Out In the Danish Cold

For several years Dzhamaldin Khodzhaniyazov was considered one of Russia’s most promising defenders. In 2013, at the age of 17, he made his debut for Zenit St. Petersburg, and two years later he helped the Russian U19 national team reach the Euro final, which they eventually lost to Spain. However, despite the early promises he never broke through in the Russian Football Premier League, and in 2015, he moved to Danish Superliga side AGF on a three-year-contract. There, he became part of a … [Read more...]

RFN Podcast – Should Cherchesov Go, Where Does Slutsky Go Next, Listeners’ Questions

Regular host Thomas Giles and guest Toke Theilade welcome John Torrie to the Russian Football News Podcast. The trio discuss John's latest piece on the RFN website where he calls for Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov to vacate his post after another set of poor results in the international break. Staying on the national team theme, the panel debate where former Russia coach Leonid Slutsky will end up next and ask whether his reputation is now tarnished. Finally, they answer questions from … [Read more...]

Five Stars With a Past in Russian Football

Since the formation of the Russian Football Premier League in 1992, a long range of quality players have amazed fans around the country. However, with so many players coming through the ranks, some more memorable than others, others more profitable for bookmakers, it is easy to forget a couple, especially for people who don't follow the league closely. Therefore, we have dived into the history books to find five superstars you might not know played in Russia at some point in their … [Read more...]