Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lokomotiv-2 in the Russian First Division?

As you may have read from a previous post, Saturn announced that they won't participate in the 2011-2012 Russian Premier League. As a result the organisers of the Russian Premier League, the Russian Football Union, wasted no time to find a replacement and soon promoted FC Krasnodar to the Premier League. FC Krasnodar, which were formed just 4 years ago, finished the season in the 5th place but given that the 3rd and 4th place finishers, that is Nizhny Novgorod and KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny respectively declined the invitation to jump the Premier the choice fell on the club which is bankrolled by Russian multi-millionaire Sergey Galitsky and lead by former red-green coach Slavoljub Muslin.

As a result of FC Krasnodar's "promotion" to the Premier, a place was freed in the Russian First Division and as in the case of Saturn's departure, the Russian Football Union immediately started to look up for a replacement. Three clubs responded to the Union's offer and threw their names in the hat. The clubs in questions are Torpedo-Zil Moscow, Fakel Voronezh and Lokomotiv-2 Moscow, the farm club of Lokomotiv Moscow.

When questioned about Lokomotiv-2 Moscow's intentions of applying for a place in the Russian First Division, Loko Moscow President Olga Smorodskaya confirmed such news and disclosed that the letters of request have been already sent to the Russian Football Union and now they are patiently awaiting for the Board's decision. Olga continued by stating that she is adamant that should Loko-2 get the Russian First Division slot, the team can cut out a decent figure. She however stressed that to date no reply was given by the Union and thus not much can be said at the present.

On the other hand, the managing director of FC Lokomotiv-2 Moscow Igor Zelepukin stressed that it's the goal of the club to get to the highest level as possible. He continued by stating that the decision to apply for the Russian First Division slot was taken together with Lokomotiv head coach Yury Krasnozhan and President Olga Smorodskaya. He showed his pleasure towards the fact that should Loko-2 get the promotion to the Russian First Division, the main squad (Lokomotiv) will be the main benefactor as those young players who fail to make it to the main squad will be given the opportunity to stay in Moscow and gain invaluable experience by playing for Loko-2 in the First Division. He also pointed out that such measure will also ensure that the players will remain under the supervision of the main squad coaches.

When questioned about the budget credentials, which should amount to about 150 million rubles, Mr. Zelepukin replied that the budget isn't an issue as the club have already several agreements with several sponsors in place. Although showing his hope for Loko-2 chances, he conceeded that such promotion is quite unlikely as Gubkin, Tyumen and Torpedo-Zil ended the season over Lokomotiv in the final standings and together with the much supported Fakel Voronezh bid, chances of seeing a Lokomotiv in the Russian First Division look rather slim.

But well, till there is hope....who knows, maybe destiny wants Loko to face Torpedo as soon as in the next season. Let's hope so!!

~~ Meanwhile Lokomotiv-2 Moscow also confirmed the signature of former Lokomotiv Moscow and Uzbekistan national team keeper Alexey Polyakov for the upcoming season. The keeper made 28 league appearances for Lokomotiv and it won't be the first time for him to put on the Loko-2 shirt. All the best Alexey!! ~~

Rodolfo back in Brazil with Gremio

Today Lokomotiv officially announced the departue of Rodolfo Dantas Bispo for Brazilian powerhouse Gremio. The transfer, which have been on the lips of everyone in the past week was settled today in the evening as Lokomotiv and Gremio settled out all the formalities of the transfers. The 28 year old Brazilian will be joining Gremio on a year-loan.

Upon his transfer to Gremio, Rodolfo admitted with that such transfer brought him mixed-feelings. He stated that although he's ecstatic that he will be able to return back to his country with his family, at the same time he also felt sad as he spent 4 beautiful years at Lokomotiv and in the process the club and its fan became his second family for him.

In light of this he stressed the fact that his contract expire in 2013 and this separation will not be a definite one and thus he won't be saying goodbye but just see you later! Respect the man!

Rodolfo joined Lokomotiv from Dynamo Kiev in 2007. Over the 4 seasons Rodolfo made 97 appearances for Lokomotiv in all competitions and found the net 9 times. During his time in Moscow, Rodolfo also managed to add the Russian Cup medal to his trophy cabinet.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Nakhushev signs for Lokomotiv

Ruslan Nakhushev became the 7th signing of Lokomotiv as last Tuesday he had put pen to paper with Lokomotiv. The player, who was released from Saturn Ramenskoye following their withdrawal from Russian football system signed a 3 year and half contract. The player will wear the number 51. Something to know is that although the transfer was made official on the 18th, the player had been training with the Lokomotiv squad since January 12 and thus the officialization of the transfer came of no suprise to anyone.

Upon his signature for Lokomotiv, Nakhushev said that his first days at Lokomotiv were a pleasant experience for him and as a result it was not difficult for him to accept the terms offered by Lokomotiv and put all the formalities to bed. He stated that he is looking forward to put on the red-green shirt and hopes that tomorrow (last Wednesday) he plays in the friendly match Lokomotiv have scheduled against Polonia Warsaw (a match which the Russians won thanks to a solitary goal from Djiby Fall).

Ruslan Nakhushev, who was born in Nalchik started his professional career at his hometown club Spartak Nalchik. After impressing for Spartak, he moved to Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow but unfortunately he couldn't find way into their starting line-up and thus in 2004 he left for Anzhi Makhazkhala without making a single appearance for CSKA. The next season he moved to Khimki and after scoring 6 goals in 21 appearances in quite succesful stint at Khimki, Ruslan made a jump in quality and joined Saturn Ramenskoye. After playing 4 full seasons for Saturn and racking up 94 appearances and scoring two goals in the process, Nakhushev left Saturn and moved to Lokomotiv.


Note: I know that the purpose of this blog is to write about news related to Lokomotiv, BUT I just couldn't not mention the news that as from next season Saturn Moscow Region won't be there (Premier League). The club, which ammassed millions and millions of Russian Rubles in debts failed to find an agreement with Lithuanian tycoon Romanov (owner of Hearts) for the transfer of the ownership of the club and thus the outfit had no other way but to close its operations and cease to exist. Poor fans of Saturn indeed, fans who unlike those of FC Moscow always showed up in numbers to support their beloved club!
I am of the opinon that Fursenko & Co. should have focused on how to help such clubs (Amkar is expected to give up their place in the Premier League and go into the first division due to financial problems) to become self-sufficient rather than focusing on to move from the yearly system to August-May football system. Anyways what's done is done and there's no way back. All we can do is to show our solidarity with the Saturn fans and hope that someday their beloved club will open it's doors once again.

Goodbye, Saturn...

Anyways with FC Moscow and Saturn already out in successive seasons and Amkar expected to follow, the million dollar question is "Who will be the next...?"

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ibricic, Ibricic, IBRICIC!!!

Finally, a major signing!! Obviously no disrespect intended towards the other signings as I believe that they are all good signings but in my opinion the transfer of Senijad Ibricic is a major coup for Lokomotiv. Surely he will have to be at his best in order to replace the surely outgoing Aliev but from the several videos I've viewed I believe that he have more than what it takes to make us fans forget Aleksandr Aliev in a very short time!! Unsurprisingly, from what I've saw on the various blogs the Loko fans are literally ecstatic with the signature. Although he is far from a worldclass name, the fact that we paid a sizeable sum, thought to be around the 5 million mark, coupled with his proven record in Croatia and his international pedigree are enough reasons for optimism amongst the fans. With the departure of Yury Semin and installment of Aunty Olga things looked gloomed for Lokomotiv but thankfully during the last couple of weeks the Loko management worked very hard and although it's still early to say I am of the belief that we can do well. At least the fans, including me are dreaming once again. I'm not saying that we will do a 2010 Zenit but I think that the talent to at least snatch a Champions League place is there!! Playing on Tuesdays and Wednesday is better than Thursdays isn't it?

Senijad Ibricic is 25 years old. In the past years he distinguished himself with Hajduk Split and NK Zagreb in the Croatian League and soon developed into the best player of the same Croatian League. Although no fee was mentioned, as aforementioned it is believed that the Railwaymen shelled out 5 million for the 2009-2010 Heart of Hajduk winner. Senijad, who have a Bosnian and Croation passport plays for the national team of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to date he made 30 apperances and scored 4 goals in the process. Ibricic, who can play as an attacking midfielder or as a second striker, signed a 3 year a half contract with Lokomotiv.

Shortly afterwards putting pen to paper, Ibiric offered his view about his move to Lokomotiv. He said that his move to Lokomotiv is a major step in his career as he is of the belief that the Russian Premier Liga is much stronger than the Prva HNL. He showed his pleasure at how things went and went on to personally thank Olga Smorodskaya and the whole club who showed a big interest in making him a red-green man. He continued the interview by conceeding the fact that he is quite sad of leaving Hajduk. He reasoned that he developed into a quality player while playing in Split and thus he feel indebted towards the club, especially the fans (of whom he was a cult hero). He ended his short interview by stating that football is all about challenges and he felt that the time was rife to leave Hajduk and seek new challenges.

Senijad Ibricic, who was born in Kotor Varoš, started his career with Podgrmeč. After banging in a remarkable 16 goals in 23 apperances in his debuting season, the 1.82 Bosnian moved on to Croatia and signed for NK Zagreb. There he managed to establish himself as one of the club's best players and therefore it was not a surprise when one of the two leading clubs in Croatia came knocking. Eventually after making 99 apperances and scoring 22 goals he moved to Hajduk Split in a 1.8mln move. In Split he continued to showcase his skills and by 2010 he was by far the best player in the Croatioan League. As of 2010, his goal-to-ratio for Hajduk was quite remarkable as despite playing in a withdrawn position he still managed to the net 35 times in 75 matches! Pretty impressive. Such form started to gain interest from overseas and despite vairious interests from various club, eventually Ibricic moved to Moscow, Lokomotiv!!!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lokomotiv lure Ivanov from Spartak

Andrei Ivanov is a Lokomotiv player. The former Spartak and Tom Tomsk player who recently have been heavily linked with Lokomotiv have put pen to paper with the red-green and signed a 3-year and a half contract. Although the fee wasn't disclosed, Russian media reported that Lokomotiv paid Spartak 2.5million euros for the services of the versatile full back yet left-back by trade. Ivanov shall be given his number during the upcoming days.

Upon being presented by the red-green shirt, Andrei Ivanov stated that he decided to join Lokomotiv for two main reasons being the opportunity to work along Yury Krasnozhan and the opportunity to join a club of the stature of Lokomotiv. He continued by outlining the fact that while he is grateful to his former side management, it's not the first time for him to be at Lokomotiv. This is because prior to wearing the Saturn and Spartak colours, Andrei Ivanov played in various youth squads of Lokomotiv. He ended his brief interview by declaring that he is looking forward to line-up with Tarasov, Shishkin and Torbinsky, players he used to play with when all four were at Spartak Moscow.

Andrei Ivanov made his Premier League debut for Spartak in 2006. After making an additional 22 league appearances, 1 cup appearance and 3 Champions League appearances, the player decided to move to Tom in order to gather some first team experience. While in 2008 he managed to appear 19 times, Andrei Ivanov performances improved greatly in 2010 and thus it was no surprise that Spartak recalled him back midway the season of 2010. Eventually this resulted to be his last stint with the Meat as after making an additional 12 league and 2 Champions League appearances, the Moscow born defender crossed Moscow and joined Lokomotiv.

Although I am rarely in favour of signing player from rivals especially from Spartak Moscow, I must say that given the various factors such as age, experience and fee, the transfer is a good one for Lokomotiv. Apart from giving us options on the flanks, Ivanov can provide a good competition to both Yanbaev and Shishkin, which is something which we have been lacking for the recent seasons. Well done!!