How do you rate the team’s friendly match against Qatar (1-1)?
Igor Akinfeev: When you no longer play for the national team, your gaze is not the most intense. It’s one thing when you are there, immersed in this disaster somewhere nearby, but another thing if you have been away from the national team for 5 or 6 years. I no longer live alone: I have three children. Honestly, I watched the first 15 to 20 minutes. Then we went for a walk to the playground. I think it is absolutely normal at this point that I decide to go for a walk with my two and a half year old son instead of watching the Qatar-Russia match. As for the results, it’s not my place to judge, it’s not my place to get into the heads of the people who currently work there. Of course, it’s good for everyone if the team wins. But there are also unpleasant moments.
I remember how they criticized the team before the World Cup at home.
Igor Akinfeev: Then I went through the stage of negativity, hatred of the team. We don’t win friendly matches. Although the opponents then were Brazil, Argentina, Spain, France, the weakest teams in the world (smiles). In my opinion, we defeated South Korea at the CSKA stadium only 4:2. From this point of view I can assess the state of the boys and the coaching staff. All this is sad, sad. But it is probably not worth dramatizing the situation in terms of results now. The fact that we do not participate in international tournaments and meetings is, yes, a big problem.
“I spent 15 years in the national team and I follow it, I watch the games. I want Russia to always win.”
Do you generally follow the national team’s matches?
Igor Akinfeev: Of course I’m watching. If I can’t see it live, I’ll definitely watch the review. I need to know the result. After all, I played in the national team for 15 years and this is no stranger to me. I want the team to win. But at this point it is difficult to draw conclusions. And bad.
Let’s talk about CSKA. What stage of development is the club in? The restructuring occurs as the season progresses.
Igor Akinfeev: This has been happening for a long time. When the Berezutsky brothers, Sergei Ignashevich, Bibras Natkho, Pontus Wernbloom and Akhmed Musa left in 2018. All together they were worth about 50 million, although they were already middle-aged. Then we lost almost the entire main team, we bought guys for the future. But from a distance it turned out that most of those guys, in general, did not play here. They’re just not even on the team. This is how perestroika continues to this day. Every year, in every transfer window, fans demand newcomers, but not everything is so simple. There’s not enough stability to play with the same guys for 2 or 3 years. Even if we took the position of coach, in recent years we had Ivica Olic, Alexey Berezutsky, Vladimir Valentinovich Fedotov. In general, it is best to ask these questions of the club management, not the players. We don’t sit in an office and we may not have the full picture.
Do the players themselves think only of “gold” or are they content with less? Only you and Kirill Nababkin remain from the champion team.
Igor Akinfeev: We probably looked at things properly. You need to use your head and understand what you are capable of. That year I said it was a blessing to come in second place. The beginning of the season was quite good, then in the fall there was a decline, but after the winter training camp everything changed. We shot and got silver medals. For me, that season was the team’s most successful in 5 or 6 years, because there was silver and a trophy: the Cup.
Yes, he admitted that he dreamed of winning the Cup.
Igor Akinfeev: What is the most important thing for a footballer and a team? Trophy. You can’t play for money, for pretty eyes and for someone to carry you in their arms. Those people who admire you also want to take a photo with the Cup and touch these victories. We sometimes joke at the club that now is not the time when every year we sit down and talk about the need to win the Championship. If every team had said that, maybe someone would have taken the title in the last five years. But we still have a champion during this period, who is doing everything to win the trophy, buying players and everything is fine with his finances. They take players to those positions that already have 2-3 people. It’s hard to fight. At the same time, we have ambitious young people. I talk to them at the base and tell them: guys, you have to show your ambitions on the field. Everything related to your personal life is your story. We need to set goals to win. At least a medal, not a cup. I repeat it once again: even second place last season was happiness. I already forgot how much this medal weighs (smiles). And when someone starts saying in an interview that we’re about to start correcting the situation and all that… And then what? You have to show everything on the field.
*Read the full version of the interview with Igor Akinfeev coming soon on the RG website