Alexander Sobolev: «We must win these two finals!»
Alexander Sobolev: «We must win these two finals!»
Before our game against Khimki, we caught up with star striker Alexander Sobolev to chat to him about the end to the season, the club’s future, and a lot more! The full interview is given below:

You’ve scored 8 goals in as many RPL games this year, how do you feel?
I do not agree with the sentiment that I have scored a lot. I didn’t score in the game against Loko, and missed the game against Ufa. There could have been more goals!

And yet, you’ve done well. What’s the secret?
All the injuries are gone, and my knee operation was successful. I forgot about all my problems and just started enjoying my football.

Which of the eight goals this spring is your favourite?
I think it would be the one against Dynamo, even if it was from the penalty spot, because it was the winning goal. I would also like to highlight the second one against Rostov.

Are you now the designated penalty taker at Spartak?
It seems so, yes.

Do you often discuss your goalscoring race with Larsson?
In general, no. If Jordan scores two in every game, I’ll only be glad!

Do you know what the score is in your race?
He’s scored 14, I’ve scored 14.

You play in tandem with either Larsson or Ponce. How does your game change depending on your attacking partner?
Not much, but Ponce and myself are similar footballers. It happens sometimes that we duplicate our actions and go for the same shot. Sometimes this is beneficial; Ezequiel and I have pushed the opponents on a number of occasions, as in the cup game against CSKA.

In the first official games of the year, Spartak lost to Dynamo and Rubin. After that, the team and coach had a frank conversation. What was it about?
The coach expressed his opinion, and then asked if anyone had any questions. We talked very productively and then made a general decision on how to play further.

Did you have your say?
Mostly, our captain spoke, but everybody was allowed to have their say.

You didn’t score in the derby with CSKA, but you earned a red card for your team. However later, the RFU cancelled Akhmetov’s red card. Thoughts?
I communicate well with Ilzat Akhmetov, but if you evaluate that specific episode, it was 100% a red card. I got a decent scratch from his studs. Even in the recent game between Khimki and Ural, there was a similar removal.

Some people criticize your frequent falls in the box, how do you feel about this?
Nobody in the team talks about it, but everybody on the outside has their own opinion. I listened to the words of the great Oleg Romantsev, who told me to stay on my feet, in a very respectful manner.

You missed the game against Ufa due to a suspension. What did you feel when you watched the game from the side?
I went to the game with a positive attitude, and thought we’d definitely win on the club’s birthday. Well, after the game, there were no emotions, just emptiness.

Perhaps we got complacent, and thought that we’d be able to win easily. Clubs like Ufa, Rotor and Arsenal go twice as hard against us.

The game in Tula wasn’t easy either, but the victory came. After the game, Tedesco singled out Moses, who made two great assists. What do you think of the player?
No wonder he played at Chelsea and Inter. The class is immediately visible, Moses thinks two steps ahead. It took him some time to adapt, but I think he will only get better in the future. He even told me before the Arsenal game. “The field here is not very good, get ready, I’ll serve you with crosses.”

What did the return of Promes add to the team?
Quincy is very positive, he jokes all the time. We started getting along right away.

These two games will be the last for Domenico Tedesco as Spartak coach. What has the coach given you?
It was under Domenico that I came to Spartak, and I know that I really wanted to see me on the team. For this, I am very thankful. If it wasn’t for him, I would not have ended up here. I feel that due to him I have greatly improved my football IQ. He has an intensive and aggressive training which forces you to think faster.

Domenico once compared you to Robert Lewandowski. What do you think of that?
I am very far from Lewandowski. When you watch him score, everything seems very simple, but on further analysis, you realise how skillful he really is. He doesn’t score many beautiful goals, but he is a world class target man. He moves correctly and knows what to do at all times. I feel like this is where we are a bit similar, but I am still very far away.

Your former club, Krylia Sovetov are back in the RPL. How do you feel about that?
I congratulate them! I’ve always had a soft spot for all of my former clubs, I hope to play all of them some day. In the meantime, I hope Krylia win the cup final this week.

Your son is making his first steps in football. How is he doing?
Right now, he studies at the Barcelona academy right next to his house. But recently I found out that there is a Spartak Junior school in Tushino, which is where I want to send him. I don’t think he will become a footballer though. He likes gymnastics more.

You actively participate to help the Spartak for Children foundation. Can you speak to that?
I just want to help children who have health problems. Let them enjoy a beautiful and bright childhood.

Do you keep in touch with Aleksandr Kokorin still? Do you two play Counter-Strike together?
We talk, however he has just been very unlucky in Italy due to injuries. I hope he will recover soon and play on a regular basis. Unfortunately, he didn’t take his computer with him, so we haven’t played CS in a while.

The Euros are coming up. You’ve promised to get Ronaldo’s haircut from 2002 if Russia make the semi-finals. Do you think this is a realistic goal?
Yes, I think the World Cup showed that anything is possible. If Russia can reach the quarter finals of that, we can reach the semis of the Euro.

Your first full season at Spartak is coming to an end. What goals do you set for yourself next?
My dream is to win everything. To begin, I generally want to raise the trophy of the RPL. I want to feel the emotions that exist five minutes before full-time in a game like that, where you realise that you’ve won the trophy. I am sure those are unforgettable, and I really want to experience them!
Date: 8 May 2021, 10:45
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