Victor Moses, giving it the big 'un against Napoli in the Europa League

7 forgotten footballers we can’t believe are still playing in Russia

The Russian Premier League has forever been a hotbed of footballing cult heroes. A rich source of Brazilian tricksters, FIFA speed merchants, and the odd up-and-coming manager.

In 2024, there aren’t quite so many big names plying their trade in Russia, for obvious reasons, but there are still some gems to be found.

Here are seven names that brought a little jolt of joy to our heart when we were trawling through the squad lists today.

Victor Moses

Somehow, Victor Moses didn’t leave Chelsea until 2021. Now, the Nigerian’s nine-year West London career did include six separate loan spells, the last of which came at his current employers Spartak Moscow, but still…

Moses is still only 33. That’s twisted our melon. On further inspection, turns out he made his Crystal Palace debut at the age of 16. That means he’s been playing senior professional football for longer than he hasn’t.

Victor Moses in action for Liverpool against Southampton, Anfield, Liverpool, September 2013.

READ: 9 players we’d completely forgotten were at Liverpool: Moses, Guthrie…

Diego Laxalt

You’re thinking, ‘Laxalt’, where do I know that name? Allow us to jog your memory: Uruguayan, left-back, cornrows.

Laxalt did the rounds in Serie A as well as a brief loan spell at Celtic Park, but in our head he’s just a Uruguay player. Doesn’t need a club. Exists in the World Cup universe and nowhere else.

Artem Dzyuba

We mainly remember Dzyuba for scoring three goals at the 2018 World Cup, with the Russian spending his entire career in his native country, except for one very short-lived working holiday in the Turkish Super Lig with Adana Demirspor.

Kind of wish we hadn’t googled anything else about him, to be honest. It’s all sex tapes and controversial opinions on the Russia-Ukraine war. Moving on…

READ NEXT: ‘We moved as one machine’: The story of Zenit’s historic UEFA Cup win

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Tomas Tavares

Tavares was a highly-rated young fullback, making his Benfica first-team breakthrough around the time that Ruben Dias was bossing the defence.

Unfortunately, the young Portuguese never managed to tie down a regular place in the team and, after three short loans, he signed permanently for Spartak Moscow last year. He’s only 23 and Spartak are a big club — don’t rule out Tavares making a big breakthrough yet.

Igor Akinfeev

We just can’t believe this fella is still playing, full stop. The bloke has been keeping goal for CSKA Moscow since 2003. Justin Timberlake’s Justified was the number-one album in the UK at the time — the one with Cry Me A River on it.

Akinfeev has played well over 750 games for CSKA and, honestly, we wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up playing 10,000.

READ: 8 players from Euro 2008 we can’t believe are still playing in 2023

Ze Turbo

Cards on the table — we’d never heard of this bloke, but if you go round calling yourself Ze Turbo (real name: Junior Jose Correia), then you have our attention.

Turns out Ze Turbo actually came through the youth setups of Sporting and Inter. We’ve just watched a video of him playing for Nanong Zhiyun in China and can confirm he is pretty quick.

Don’t think he’s quick enough to be called Ze Turbo, but he’s quick enough. There’s a satisfying bicycle kick on a very waterlogged pitch in there.

Ibrahima Cisse

You may not remember Cisse, but we’ve got ourselves a former Premier League footballer right here. We’ll forgive you for not remembering the Guinea international’s three games in the PL for Fulham during the 2018-19 season.

He failed to really break through at Fulham, and left the Cottagers just before the covid pandemic fully hit the UK. He’s now in the Russian Premier League with Ural Yekaterinburg, who have one of football’s most disappointing club badge/emblems. They could’ve gone for mountains or bears — both cool as f*ck.

Instead, they’ve got some real clip art arse sh*t. Wasteful.