Not all Russian footballers completed their performances at their championships and went on vacation. For some of our foreign players, the 2023 season is in full swing. We are talking about those in whose leagues the teams play according to the “spring-autumn” system, well forgotten by us.
The results of the season of the 20 most famous Russian legionnaires:
Kokorin’s happiness and Golovin’s tragedy. How was the season for Russian legionnaires
Two Zenit pupils, Maxim Rudakov and Evgeny Bashkirov, whom we also remember playing for Rostov (the goalkeeper still belongs to this club and went on loan), Tom, Krylya Sovetov and Rubin, merged in the same league with the former – CSKA and Spartak midfielder Roman Eremenko. All three perform in Finland. The local Veikkausliga is, of course, still weaker than the RPL, but the gap, unfortunately, is narrowing – the teams of the first half of the Finnish championship roughly correspond in terms of level to the teams of the second half of the Russian championship. . and the leaders of our First Division.
Rudakov won bronze medals and the League Cup last season with Honka. It is not for nothing that the Espoo club gladly took the opportunity to extend the lease of the Rostov goalkeeper for another year, despite the fact that Finland itself closed the borders to the Russians. Maksim saved 74% of his shots on goal and became second in the Veikkausliga for this indicator.
Photo: FC Honka
Bashkirov was a player for the Polish Zaglebie until the spring of 2022, but after a change in the political situation, the Lubin club terminated the contract with the Russian midfielder. Eugene spent several months in the status of a free agent, and in the summer he unexpectedly left for Andorra. He was training with the Santa Coloma team, led by Dmitry Cheryshev, and he was going to close a deal, but the transition failed for some reason. The hiatus dragged on, but in March 2023 Bashkirov finally found a new club. He signed a two-year contract with VPS Vaasa, who finished the 2022 season in eighth place.
As for Eremenko, in Finland, a native of Moscow is his own. In case you suddenly forgot, Roman played for the Suomi national team for many years, playing 73 games and scoring five goals. The last time he took the field wearing the national team shirt was in the fall of 2016.
After a sudden departure from Rostov in February 2021, Eremenko ended his career on a high. He returned to professional football only a year and a half later: last summer, the midfielder was signed by HIFK from Helsinki. Roman played 11 games in the Veikkausliga and scored 2 + 1, but his team was too weak for the elite. Eliminated last. However, Eremenko decided to continue his career at the age of 36: in May of this year, he became Rudakov’s teammate, signing a contract with Honka until the end of 2023.
Photo: FC Honka
The season is shaping up differently for this trio. Rudakov is still the first number of “Honka”. In 11 games, he conceded nine goals and gave away four “crackers.” He saved 78% of the shots on goal: he is among the top 3 goalkeepers in the Veikkausliga according to this statistic. Soon the Russian will play in European competitions: Honka is preparing to start in the Conference League standings. In Rostov, Rudakov could not win the competition with Sergei Pesyakov, but, perhaps, he will show himself to more status European clubs.
Eremenko unsuccessfully debuted with Honka. In the game against Haka, he came on as a substitute at half-time, but after 25 minutes he was sent off—he received a straight red card for a hard foul. But in the last three rounds, having served his disqualification, Roman constantly got into the base. So far, Eremenko has no effective actions. Maybe save it for European competitions?
At the moment, “Honka” is in fifth place, however, in terms of lost points, it is out of the top 6. This is important, because after the two-round tournament, 12 teams will be divided into two sixes. It is clear that Honka’s task is to get into the “group of champions”. But Bashkirov’s UPU is now in the last place – 12th. More precisely, it shares it with Mariehamn – both teams have only six points.
Interview with the Russian goalkeeper, whose team surprised in European competition:
“In Moscow, they didn’t even want to look at me.” The Russian goalkeeper among the discoveries of the European season
Eugene is an outsider base player. Our central defender played all 10 games as a starter, did not carry out effective actions and received three yellow cards. Bashkirov is the VPS leader in terms of the number of key passes (9) and fouls committed on himself (12), the second in the team in shots (16), shots on target (4), tackles (18), returns possession in the opponent’s midfield (18) and even losing the ball in their own half (20). Still, the partners corresponded to the level of the Russian legionnaire! Some of them are rare, for example, the goalkeeper Teppo Martinen in the last game against SIK on the road.
VPS were defeated with a score of 1:2, having conceded a wild and incredibly curious goal already in the second minute. The opponent scored… out of bounds! Ghanaian defender for the hosts Terry Yegbe flicked the ball from the left flank and lobbed it towards the goal. Apparently, he was counting on one of the teammates to correct the goalkeeper. But none of their own touched, and the ball went into the net, and the goal was counted!
The fact is that Marttinen touched the ball before it flew towards the goal. But it was enough just to remove the hands. Had the UPU goalkeeper not touched the ball, the referee would have disallowed the goal and awarded a goal kick. Bashkirov watched all this, being in the selection zone near the 11-meter mark, and probably did not believe his eyes. In the RPL, he definitely didn’t see this. However, Finland is a football wonderland, anything can happen here. It is still the birthplace of Santa Claus. For example, in 2016, the Russian goalkeeper Alexander Vasyutin made his debut for Lahti with a goal scored – he saved the team from defeat in the 90 + 2 minute.
Of the interesting figures in the Veikkausliga, it is also worth noting fifth-placed Argentine Juan Lezcano de Khaki, who also scored a lot in the Russian First League for Yenisei and SKA Khabarovsk. And also: Anton Popovich, the son of former Spartak striker Valery Popovich. The KuPS technical center is among the top 5 players in the Finnish Championship according to InStat.