The words of CSKA president Evgeny Giner caused an unexpected resonance in the Russian football world. The functionary highly appreciated the importance of CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev for domestic sports. In his opinion, the captain of the Red-Blues had a greater influence on him than all other legendary goalkeepers, including the winner of the Golden Ball Lev Yashin.
Akinfeev has been playing for the team for more than 20 years. The athlete has more than 750 official matches for Muscovites. The 37-year-old footballer is a six-time champion of Russia, the winner of the UEFA Cup, he also won the Cup and the Super Cup of the country seven times with the team.
"A year or two after he started playing, Igor proved that he was a star. I don't think I'm wrong: over the years, Igor has surpassed all our star goalkeepers. I have all the respect for Yashin, Dasaev and others, but, in my opinion, Igor has already set all the records: clean sheets, the number of matches, and so on, so on, so on. Igor has already surpassed everything. And it's nice," Giner was quoted as saying by Sport-Express.
However, not everyone agreed with the CSKA president. First of all, those legendary goalkeepers. In particular, Rinat Dasaev.
"Does Giner think that Akinfeev has surpassed Yashin and me? I don't care what he says. Who is Giner? If he thinks so, let him think so. I'm not interested. I don't say whether I agree with him or not. Now is not the time for that," Championat quotes Dasayev as saying.
Two-time USSR football champion Anzor Kavazashvili also did not support Giner. In his opinion, the words of the functionary rather speak of his personal attitude to Akinfeev.
"As for the assessment of the athletes, Evgeny Lennorovich apparently forgot that Yashin was the only goalkeeper who received the Ballon d'Or award. Dasaev, on the other hand, was recognized as the best in his position in the world at a certain stage in his career. Giner, in his own words, put Akinfeev on the controversial issue of determining the quality of goalkeepers and their school. Igor is really a very good goalkeeper, but to put him above these two athletes is too much. If he had made a ranking, saying that in the Soviet period, and then in Russia, Yashin was the best, Dasayev was second, and Akinfeev was third, I would even applaud him," Kavazashvili told RT.
At the same time, former CSKA goalkeeping coach Vyacheslav Chanov advised to pay attention to Akinfeev's statistics. In the so-called Lev Yashin Club, which includes domestic goalkeepers who have kept their gates intact in 100 or more official matches, the captain of the Army team is in first place: 357 clean sheets. Dasaev, who is on the second line, has only 229, Yashin has 204.
"I fully subscribe to Giner's statement, because I saw Igor's statistics. Number of games, clean sheets, penetration, and so on. We should not draw conclusions based on what we think. You need to rely on facts and on the importance of the contribution that a person makes to the team's victory. Akinfeev has already rewritten all the goalkeeping records to himself, including mine, which I am only happy about. He just proves with his numbers that he is really one of the best, and now future goalkeepers will be guided by the bar set by Akinfeev," the source told RT.
According to Chanov, a very important component of Akinfeev's game is his stability, and this is one of the main qualities by which a goalkeeper can be evaluated.
"If we talk about who is now showing a similar level to Igor, then I can say that we have a lot of good players, but in one season they shine, and in another they seem to disappear. In addition, Akinfeev has many years in goal behind him, which some other goalkeepers lack," Chanov explained. – For example, Matvey Safonov, a member of the national team, is showing a good result now. There are no questions about his game, but, again, we still need to test his abilities at a good international level. Now in Russia, the goalkeeper line is at a very high level. You can point your finger at any team and find a good goalkeeper there."
At the same time, the former goalkeeper does not detract from the merits of Yashin, who was the best goalkeeper of the century and created a new system of play, which significantly changed football and its development.
"This is a great contribution that will go down in history forever. Every generation has its idols, and in Soviet times, Rinat Dasayev was certainly one of them. He is a legendary player of his time, a silver medalist of the European Championship, a bronze medalist of the Olympic Games, the winner of the prize "The Best Goalkeeper in the World". I can also start listing my achievements, but if we're talking about metrics, that's a different conversation. The numbers speak for themselves, and Ihor's figures are really high now," the specialist said.