We remember football stars who were close to playing in Russian clubs.
Luis Figo, FC Moscow, 2005
In the summer of 2005, the star Portuguese midfielder terminated his contract with Real Madrid and could choose where to continue his career. By then, Figo’s best years were long past, but with his batting and sense of play, the winner of the 2000 Golden Ball certainly would not have lost in the Russian championship. The football club “Moscow” offered him 8 million euros a year, but Luis chose the Italian “Inter”. They said that his wife, Swedish model Helen Svedin, did not want to go to Russia.
Another unsuccessful “Moscow” transfer of those years – the future leader of “Paris Saint-Germain” and the winner of the Champions League in “Real” Angel Di Maria. The Argentine diaspora, which later ruled as part of the Muscovites, advised the club management to buy a young player from Rosario Central, but the parties could not agree on the money. “Moscow” gave 6 million, and “Benfica” – 8. Yes, and the climate in Lisbon seemed more favorable to Angel than to the Russian capital.
Kaka, CSKA, 2003
In the early 2000s, the army team studied the South American market closely and sometimes found very cool players there. Kaka, who later became the best player in the world and the legend of Milan, was one step away from the transition to CSKA. According to the head of the army, Yevgeny Giner, the parties already agreed on everything, but then the Italians intervened.
Kaka previously saw the army club as a transitional stage on the way to the top league, but in the end he decided not to risk it.
Rival, “Spartacus”, 2003
Spartacus dreamed of strengthening the offense and Rivaldo was looking for a good contract in his old age after the failure at Milan. The Brazilian was satisfied with the financial conditions, but, as club president Andrei Chervichenko later said, Spartak did not understand the intricacies of the lease agreement with the Italians. They thought the deal would cost 4m euros in total and would actually cost Rivaldo Spartak just a dollar and a half. Yes, and Nevio Scala, the new coach of the Muscovites, was not satisfied with the age of the player.
The Brazilian spent a few more solid seasons in Greece and then went to work in Uzbekistan. Six months after the failed transfer, Spartak will spend more than $11 million on Argentina’s Fernando Cavenaghi, which they will regret in the future.
Robert Lewandowski, Siberia, 2007
The 19-year-old Pole was a player of the humble Znich, who played in the second Polish league. A local agent offered Siberia to take care of Robert and a few other young people, but the attacker did not like Novosibirsk and when they saw its worth, they stopped talking. 500 thousand euros seemed an insufficient amount for “Siberia”.
Three years later, Lewandowski was sold to Borussia Dortmund for 4.5 million and soon everyone recognized him. He is now one of the best strikers in the world. A few years ago, “Siberia” went bankrupt and disappeared from the football map of Russia.
John Terry, “Spartacus”, 2018
The Englishman became a red and white legend without playing a single match for the team. His relocation from Aston Villa in September 2018 was rumored to be a fact, John already got a visa and passed a medical exam. It looks like a little more – and “Spartak” will replace the injured Samuel Gigot with an excellent central defender, but family circumstances intervened.
Terry flew to Moscow to apologize to Spartak owner Leonid Fedun and announced his retirement soon after.
Alexander Kolarov, Luch-Energy, 2007
A talented OFK defender was spotted at the winter training camp in Serbia, and Luch even agreed to a three-year contract with him. The deal fell through for an unusual reason. The club urgently needed permission from the district governor to transfer money, but he was not at work. The transfer could not be completed.
Passing through Lazio, Kolarov won the championship, the Cup and the English Super Cup at Manchester City. His success in Italy (the championship with Inter, two wins in the country’s Cup) is also impressive.
Diego Maradona, “Uralan”, 1997
It seems like a joke, but Kommersant wrote in December 1996: “He plans to buy Diego Maradona.”
Of course, it was possible to drag Diego Armando from Elista to the club of the first league for a very good fee, but Ilyumzhinov never compromised on money. In “Uralan” they said that the deal will happen, but Maradona did not play in Russia. He began to have health problems, and the Elstinites soon made their way to the “tower” even without him.
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