Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel became the protagonist of the first day of the group stage of the Champions League. He saved his team from defeat in the confrontation with Atletico. The Italians lost 0-1 after Pablo Barrios' goal in the 29th minute and could not equalize. In the time already added to the match, the goalkeeper went into the opponent's penalty area for a corner and headed the ball into the goal after a cross from Luis Alberto.
Even Fabio Capello admired the goalkeeper's game. The former coach of Milan and Juventus called him the main star of the meeting.
Ivan became the second goalkeeper in the history of the Champions League, who was able to score a goal from the game. In 2009, Sinan Bolat from the Belgian Standard in the group stage match with the Dutch AZ headed in the penalty area. Vincent Enyema, Hans-Jörg Butt and Dimitar Ivankov converted the penalty.
At the same time, for Provedel, this goal is not the first in his career. In February 2020, playing for Juve Stabia in Serie B, he also scored in the 95th minute.
It should be noted that the 29-year-old goalkeeper has a close relationship with Russia: his mother was born in Moscow. He himself repeatedly came to the capital to visit his grandmother, and is very warm to his second homeland.
"I still remember with love and a smile how she taught me Russian. She also cooked me almost all the dishes of Russian cuisine. I remember that I loved goulash from meat dishes. But the main favorite is pancakes! They were on Tuesdays, but I'm ready to eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day... Although I was born and raised in Italy, I feel half Italian, half Russian. My mother and grandmother are Russians, and I have a very close connection with them. I feel that a part of me belongs to Russia," Ivan recalled in an interview with the Championship in 2022.
As if to confirm these words, Provedel called his son Alexander. According to the goalkeeper, his child should know his roots, and it is important for him to know the Russian language.
Moreover, the footballer said that he was ready to play for the Russian national team, since he did not play for the first team of Italy. Ivan, however, does not yet have a Russian passport.
"If one day this happens, and they call me, then I will definitely think about the proposal. It is an honor to receive such a challenge. So far, I do not have Russian citizenship. But I admit that I can get it. I only have an Italian passport, as I don't have much time to mess around with all the paperwork. But if it is required, why not," the athlete admitted.
However, Ivan has already been noticed by the coaches of Squadra Adzarra. He played brightly in Serie A last season: Provedel managed to repeat the achievement of Gianluigi Buffon and Morgan de Sanctis in the number of clean sheets in an era when three points are given for victory. For 38 matches, he kept the goal intact 21 times.
Moreover, the goalkeeper quite accidentally ended up in the main squad of Lazio. Initially, the head coach of the Romans, Maurizio Sarri, took the Italian as a backup to Luis Mashimiana. However, the Portuguese retired in the eighth minute of the match of the first round, and he was replaced by Ivan. The goalkeeper made some good saves in the game and helped his team take three points in the confrontation with Bologna. After that, Provedel began to constantly enter the field.
Before Lazio, Ivan played in Serie A for two seasons. In 2020, he was invited by Spezia, which had just reached the top division. He played 60 matches for the team, but only in 11 he managed to keep a clean sheet.
Interestingly, as a child, coaches put Provedel in the position of a striker. Perhaps that is why he is so good at acting with his head in the penalty area. However, the young man wanted to become a goalkeeper, inspired by the game of Francesco Toldo. And the grandfather of the football player, according to him, served with Lev Yashin.