The legends of the Russian soccer team were in Norilsk this weekend. We visited a quarry where ore is extracted, played a tournament against factory teams and had an autograph session. And we speak frankly with the people of Norilsk.
Those who defeated the Dutch at Euro 2008 15 years ago, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Roman Shirokov, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Dmitry Sychev, attended the Bear Ruchey mine and the football festival organized by the Russian Football Federation and Norilsk Nickel. As well as Alexey Gasilin: he won the European Youth Championship with the Russian team and is now one of the most famous football players in the media league, where both professional football players and bloggers play.
In Norilsk, everything also turned out in a media way. During the break between games with the Norilsk futsal teams, Dmitry Sychev would go out with a mop to clean the sweat-soaked parquet floor. And then he cleaned everyone up in defense and scored several spectacular goals himself.
Alexei Gasilin, Roman Shirokov and Dmitry Sychev (from left to right). Photo: RFU
Roman Pavlyuchenko was active, but was injured; he required a consultation with an ambulance doctor. “I pulled a calf muscle; it’s unusual to play on the court, especially since there are so many games in a row,” Roman explained.
The former Tottenham and Spartak striker played as a couple against Remontnik and Gazovik, Miner and Oil, the teams of Nadezhdinsky and Copper Plants… A total of 12 games in a row lasting 7 minutes each.
Tellingly, there was no talk of too tight a schedule.
The day before, the legends talked about football with the inhabitants of Norilsk. Everyone especially appreciated Roman Shirokov’s answer on the topic of Russian citizenship, which is often given to foreign football players who play in Russia. Usually Brazilian. There are many examples – Ari, Mario Fernandez, Malcolm, Claudinho…
– Why are we doing this if we have our own equally good players? I do not know a single legionnaire who would come here out of love for Russia. They come here to earn money, – said Shirokov to applause.
The RG correspondent asked Shirokov why he is strongly against this practice, because Mario Fernández himself gave himself up in the matches of the Russian team, both in the 2018 World Cup and in the 2021 Euro Cup…
“He gave himself up, no question, although I don’t know how much he helped,” Shirokov said. -I think so: if a person receives Russian citizenship, he lives here all his life. And we succeeded: we give a person citizenship, he earns money here and leaves. That’s what I’m talking about. I understand teams wanting to close a legionnaire position or two by giving citizenship to foreigners, but this is definitely not a priority. After all, it is initially clear: these people are not going to live here.
In the harsh and at the same time hospitable Norilsk, these words sounded somehow special.