Gutsy win and juridical defeat. What Rubin’s debut in 2017 was marked by

Rubin played its first friendly on 26 January. However, the club's investigation with its former player Serdar Azmun was the major event. Realnoe Vremya tells how the long legal battle ended and what the first game in 2017 looked like.

Azmun became a key character

Despite the start of such a long-awaited first friendly of Rubin in 2017, specialists who are interested in the club's life paid their attention to another event. Serdar Azmun's representatives decided to act in the style of their client having entered the media space of the Russian football community as quick as a flash. The parties received the decision on the case on cancellation of the contract between Rubin-Kazan and the Iranian football player. Legal Sport, a legal services agency that dealt with this case, commented this information for Realnoe Vremya:

''We got the results of the hearing today. According to them, FIFA defended the player's position. The club's appeal was denied. It was decided there was not any violation when the player cancelled the contract. And now Rubin must pay the debt on the contract, which was meant to be fake. Consequently, FIFA did not confirm that data, and Azmun was completely justified,'' representatives of the forward shared information.

Earlier, CAS, one of higher appellate authorities, also was on the side of the player and allowed him to play for his new club. Rostov was not supposed to be participating in it. But the Kazan club insisted on its inclusion in the case as a third part. Yury Zaitsev, one of Azmun's lawyers, told it our newspaper when he said that the Rostov club's participation would be good.

FIFA defended the player's position. Photo:

As a result, Rubin lost the case but it still has a chance to appeal this decision in higher authorities. At this moment it is unknown whether the Kazan club will insist on its point of view. According to messages sent by our sources from the club, the press service is preparing an answer on the situation. Realnoe Vremya's editorial is following the situation. We will be able to know the opinion of Rubin very soon. As for further consequences of such a decision, Azmun's representatives admitted they were satisfied with the decision of FIFA.

''CAS already made a decision on Azmun's claim, that's to say, the case ended. Speaking of this contract debate, the first authority – FIFA – confirmed its position. Still, there are other bodies that accept appeals on such issues. We are satisfied with the decision. For this reason, you should ask Rubin this question,'' we were told in Legal Sport.

Meanwhile, the choice of the day for the announcement of the decision is very interesting. Last week the Russian media talked that FIFA closed the debate between the player and the club. However, everything was clear only on 26 January when the defeated party had a friendly… Nevertheless, as Legal Sport noted, such a halt took place because of bureaucratic red tape in very FIFA:

''The trial in FIFA is held in the following way: the parties exchange letters. The club sends its position as well as the player. In other words, FIFA makes a decision considering these positions. Everything happened at a distance, we had to wait for the answer more,'' the forward's representatives told us.

''Rubin lost the case but it still has a chance to appeal this decision in higher authorities.'' Photo:

''I assure you…''

Undoubtedly, fans of the Kazan club were disappointed about this decision of FIFA. Many people thought that Rubin had an advantage and that, as a result, the Kazan club would get a compensation. Rubin's president Ilsur Metshin's words added enthusiasm to this case. He assured that the cases would end interestingly:

''I assure you that the final with Serdar Azmun will be interesting, more interesting than the very match of Rubin and Rostov,'' Metshin commented ''Azmun's case'' at the end of November.

Now club fans think they were deceived and are waiting for ''blood''. Appeals to start an investigation among former executives of Rubin and find the guilty party in this defeat appear in themed communities. It is thought that this time they won't get away with a headline-making transfer.

However, it is possible that the club executives really have a trump card to use in other authorities. We will keep in touch waiting for the ''interesting end of the case''.

Today's players did not let down

But players of the team decided not to postpone the first bright victory. Javier Gracia's players confidently coped with CSKA from Sofia, not having lost the clue of the match even when the score was 0-2 in favour of the Bolgarian club. Probably nobody expected such a confident performance in new 2017. However, let's start from the beginning.

Javier Gracia's players confidently coped with CSKA from Sofia. Photo:

First of all, we can't help but agree that Rubin players looked more self-confident than their rivals. Even if the score showed sad 0-2 after 30 minutes of the game, the Kazan team did not lose its shape on the pitch. By the way, it is a rare thing in friendlies, I mean not only Rubin. For instance, Lokomotiv-Moscow players who obviously were not prepared for the beginning of the match lost against these Bolgarian players.

Although Rubin played well in the front line and centre of the pitch, their defence lacked harmony. It seems that Javier Gracia decided to leave his usual formation of 4-4-2 and fielded three nominal midfielders at once. Yann M'Vila, who recently prolonged his contract with Rubin, Alex Song and Magomed Ozdoev needed to cement the centre, while back wings Vitaly Ustinov and Moritz Bauer tried to attack. By the way, the latter did more mistakes. Probably it happens because he frequently joins the attack.

Due to the Swiss' mistakes, Rubén Rochina, who was not remarkable in attack, had to visit his zone often. The other wing, Maxime Lestienne, looked better among his colleagues. His stubbornness led to dangerous moments near the rival's goal many times. And the first goal of Rubin this year was performed by the Belgian's direct participation.

M'Vila who managed to correct Lestienne's mistakes and simplified his defensive job well did a lot. What is more, the French often took the initiative near the rival's goal and was the originator of attacks of Rubin. Ustinov looked well in his background. But at the moment he is falling behind his rival on the flank Elmir Nabiullin.

New formation tested on ''Four Tatars''?

A completely different squad of Rubin appeared in the second half. It was difficult to estimate its actions mainly because the rival also had substitutions and its key players were not on the pitch. However, we found people to praise. First of all, it is Carlos Zambrano and Rifat Zhemaletdinov. The defender clearly looks better than his rivals on the position, and his play in attack during the last goal was a discovery for many people.

Javier Gracia was glad about the first camp of the team. Photo:

And Rifat Zhemaletdinov was one of the participants of the ''Tatar attack'' in the second half. After the break, Javier Gracia decided to field four representatives of the Tatar diaspora – Nabiullin, Zhemaletdinov, Bilyaletdinov and Karadeniz. We would like to pay great attention to the actions of the left flank where three of these players actively performed.

We got used to quite pushing actions of Karadeniz, Zhemaletdinov and Nabiullin in some matches. But now it seems that we witnessed a birth of a new attacking style that had not been tested. In many people's opinion, Gökdeniz became a forward, but he did not. It seems that by this decision Gracia wanted to repeat a ''fake nine'', which is trendy in the whole world, when a player who came out to be a forward and turns into a back wing. Nabiullin, Zhemaletdinov did it. Bilyaletdinov substituted Karadeniz at times.

In general, we can agree with Javier Gracia who was glad about the first camp of the team. This gutsy win can become the beginning of something great under the ''four Tatar men'' except for the juridical defeat.

By Zulfat Shafigullin