We are pleased with the successes of our favorite players, especially with Russian residence permit. But how can you measure success: the number of goals, the number of minutes played in a season or something else? Igor Smolnikov - the extreme defender, who scored just 14 goals in more than 260 official games in 10 years of his career. And yet many believe that it can be put on a par with the best players in modern Russian football. Why?
Biography: the history of diligence and perfection
So the future footballer becomes a pupil of the Moscow "Locomotive". Although for the main team he will play only 15 matches, diligence and willingness to learn will help him in the future to make an excellent football career. A significant role in this played the coach of Torpedo Alexander Gostenin and coach Yuri Semin, who trusted the player to play in the basis. The club "Torpedo" then performed in the Premier League. Igor Smolnikov played for him 30 games on loan and was invited to the main team of "Locomotive".
Then there were leases in a number of clubs of the top division, including native "Ural". But nowhere a footballer who played immediately in midfield or defense, did not stay more than one season. In the Sochi "Pearl" Igor began to try himself in a new role - the extreme right defender, or lateral. The main thing was that he played, the coaches noticed how Igor Smolnikov is progressing. "Zenith" in August 2013 still bought the player for 6 million euros. But before this, the defender lost 14 games in Krasnodar for the last 14 months (at that time the team with big ambitions), having risen in price three times.
Performances for FC Zenit
This time can be safely considered the time of take-off in the player's career. It is clear that without Igor's diligence, without his persistent desire to improve with such competition, it would be impossible to achieve anything. Since the role of a football player is a defender, the number of goals is not the best indicator of success. But statistics can still tell us something.
Comparison table - statistics of matches and goals
This is not taking into account 5 productive passes for these 3 years. As it becomes clear from the table, Igor is progressing, and above all as a player of the crook, lateral, who is connecting to the attack. This is possible due to its characteristics. We will discuss them.
Characteristics that make it popular
First of all, the coaches appreciate that Igor Smolnikov is a football player, aimed at an attack. He is constantly invited to the team. And he more than once pleased the fans with beautiful goals after running up the flank (on the verge of offside) behind the defenders. One can also recall one of the most beautiful goals from outside the penalty area for "Rostov", when Igor struck like a cannon with a distant "9".
According to statistics, Igor Smolnikov:
- deprives the ball of an opponent in more than half of all martial arts;
- in 17 out of 20 cases his pass reaches the addressee;
- allows for a minimum of fouls;
- quite well traces.
To play in the role of the lateral (brow), you need good speed and stamina to manage to return to your main defender position after connecting to the attacks. This skill is also developed in Igor.
Injuries and failures are not a hindrance to progress
Of course, it does not do without trouble. In "Zenith" footballer was injured repeatedly. But the last trauma led to the forced operation on October 18, 2016. However, now Igor is recovering. This is evident from the fact that he left for winter training with the team to participate in sparring on a par with others.
The player was interested in such leading clubs in Europe as Barcelona, Atletico, Milan and Dortmund Borussia. But after the unsuccessful performance of the Russian national team at Euro-2016 their interest diminished. And perhaps, because of the very high price of vacation - 40 million euros (compare with 15 million for Shakhov). Igor himself would like to play in England.
All the above hardships could break anyone, but Igor is distinguished by perseverance. And Igor Smolnikov listens to the mentors' opinions, trying to extract a rational grain for self-improvement, and is in no hurry to draw conclusions. As Igor himself notes: when you just concentrate on work, experiences go into the background and things start to improve.
The future promises
When in August 2016 a new trainer, titled Mircea Lucescu, moved to Zenit, a new page opened in the history of the club. Quite possibly, the symbiosis of an industrious player and experienced mentor will give fans of Russian football many joyful moments and glorious achievements. And how to know, maybe we will see another upsurge in Igor Smolnikov's career.