Handballfast exclusive. Vladislav Radimov: "I missed the Russian football Cup final because of Vyakhireva"

7 September 2022
Vladislav Radimov, a favourite of many football fans from St. Petersburg, the champion of the country in 2007, the UEFA Cup and the European Super Cup winner in 2008 and the head coach of Zenit-2, loves handball. And talked readily about it with Handballfast — about iconic TV commentator Yury Rozanov, penalty reflected by Polina Kuznetsova, wishing her sister and her old friend Anna Vyakhireva luck in Norwegian HC Vipers Kristiansand, joined by other legends of Russian football with pleasure — Yury Pavlovich Semin and Igor Ilyich Titov, memories about Rio-2016, Tokyo-2020 and the final of the Russian championship 2021/2022 — everything is in the hot interview of Vladislav Nikolaevich.   
 
 
… We are acquainted, if I remember correctly, more than quarter of a century, since the promising midfielder Radimov just started to shine and delight journalists and fans in the mid-90s. Therefore, obviously, we are on first name basis, as it was before. 

 — Am I correct: your love to handball was cultivated by Yury Rozanov, God rest his soul, my elder friend and favorite commentator of million of viewers?

 — Of course, I knew about this wonderful game before. In our childhood we tried everything, I suppose, and I always enjoyed watching the Olympic Games and other major tournaments, support our athletes. And when I played at the Championship of Spain, I came to watch handball from time to time. Or, for instance, you come to Valencia or Bilbao to a match. The play is on Saturday evening or on Sunday, and during the day you turn the TV on and watch handball… The Spanish love it very much, constantly show it, and there are plenty of people in the stands!
 

Well, and we often crossed there with our legionaries  — for example, with Yury Nesterov, with whom we occasionally see each other in Saint Petersburg, with Talant Dujshebaev… All the more, they were nearby in Santander. And many our football players were in this city also. I recall well, how we communicated with Nesterov on the birthday of Dima Radchenko (another star of Russian football of 90s — Handballfast).

 
But I really loved handball even more thanks to Uncle (Rozanov was so-called by friends, commentator colleagues and others — Handballfast), who was fond of the play. I remember, once he called or wrote, suggesting to watch together. It was in January, when a men’s tournament was held, European or World championship. Girls play in December...
 
 — It is immediately obvious according to these words: the person understands the subject!
 
 — It is just logics, like in "What? Where? When?", for example. I remembered these differences at once, because football players usually rest in December and go to training camp in January. It was men’s tournament, because we had training camp. And right until 2009, as I haven’t finished the playing career yet. But I still can’t recall what was the tournament exactly. 
 

Well, and generally: how can anyone not love handball? The game is fast, dynamic, interesting… There are many attacks, many goals: everything what we like! I heard, a men’s handball team Zenit could appear in Saint Petersburg soon. If it happens, I would be very pleased. And I will come to see a game readily — in Spain Barcelona fans support a football, basketball and handball team. 

 — What do we call, general public knew your feelings about handball, as far as I’m concerned, after one of your posts in social network, when you expressed admiration of our women’s national team at the Olympic Games-2016! 
 
 — Oh, it was a great victory in Rio indeed, it’s impossible not to admire it! Remember: a semi-final with Norway, everyone is on pins and needles, and Katya Ilina is just a girl with nerves of steel, she calmly realizes penalties one by one… When she walked to the point once again, honestly, I was worried: "She won’t score this time, she isn’t a machine after all!" It’s amazing, Katya scored goals one by one. 
 
And what about the final with France? And the whole way to this triumph?! From my point of view, motivating feature films should be definitely made about such victories, similar to legendary basketball three seconds in 1972 or "Legend 17" about hockey Super Series... 
 
I always watch the Olympic Games, all the decisive matches, no matter when they are played. Even if it’s at night, I have no right to miss it, I set an alarm. And how it was upsetting, when we ceded the victory to France in Tokyo a little over a year ago… I was frustrated all that day. However, anyway girls did well, reached the final and won silver!
 
                                            
 
 — I remember, how you expressed support after it to your friend Anna Vyakhireva, it was very touchingly. But now I would like to ask, how did she and her sister Polina Kuznetsova get the idea to use 7-meter-throws?
 
 —  It was a ridiculous story. We went to visit the Academy of Galitsky in Krasnodar, you’ve certainly been there and you know, how great it is there? And suddenly I see a poster: the Russian Super Cup is held, Rostov-Don takes part… How could I loose an opportunity to see Vyakhireva playing alive? It’s a miracle every time. I wrote her: "Can you help with tickets?" She answers: "Of course! How many do you need?" — "Just one!". I came, they presented me the Rostov team equipment, I supported girls obviously. And after the match we recalled, how I jokingly told her and Kuzya (Polina Kuznetsova — Handballfast): "How could you fail to score a goal by hand from 7 meters?" — "Go ahead, try it..."
 
And I tried. Firstly, I don’t remember who of them was at the gates, I couldn’t score a 7-meter-throw by hand even once. All right, I told Kuzya I would shoot with foot from the point. And I didn’t score again! She pulled me… And they posted it in social networks immediately (laughing), I received messages at once: "you’ve embarrassed yourself!"
 
 — Then let’s move on to a serious wave: being a coach, do you peek at something in handball, do you use it with football players later?
 
 — Yes, of course, a lot can be adopted. Watching handball matches, it’s worth learning, how a numerical advantage is created in one or another area, crossing and overlapping is used… It’s a different matter, that the specifics of work with Zenit-2 with young football player rather implies psychological training, development of certain qualities of players, their growing, than setting a team play, which is peculiar to the teams that are being built for several years and compete for the titles.
 
So, Pep Guardiola (a great football coach — Handballfast) wrote in his book that he learned a lot from water polo players. And among handball players he communicated a lot with Inaki Urdangarin, and you are definitely aware of his destiny, as well as Handballfast readers.   
 
We use the elements of different games during the trainings, not only handball. For instance, we can play with football ball on ice. Like we all used to play in childhood. 
 

 — I read about your original present to Vyakhireva (a cake with her figure), and about her present to you (actors, dressed as policemen, who frightened your guests at first). Can you tell something else, that could be printed?  

 

 — Well, there wasn’t anything else serious, though we are still friends, certainly. She came to visit me several times, I introduced Anya to my girlfriend. Now I can reveal a secret, that even during the pandemic she came to Saint Petersburg (we had to keep it in secret at that time), we went to the Gulf of Finland and made barbecue...  
 
By the way, the Russian Football Cup final was in Moscow not so long ago — Spartak against Dinamo — and I contacted with Match TV, where I often help as an expert, with a big request not to put me on this play, because almost at that time the return final of the Russian handball championship was held — CSKA against Rostov-Don. I realized that it was the last match of Vyakhireva before her departure abroad and I couldn’t miss it. I came to the play and supported her as usual, then we communicated, I congratulated her with the victory, obviously. Now she is in Norway, she is closer to Saint Petersburg and I hope she can come more frequently!   
 
 
 — What can you say about her as a player and as a person?
 
 — Speaking about player, I can repeat what I say to my football players, when I set her as example. Anya has a true athlete character. Vyakhireva goes right through. And when it comes to decisive minutes, this leadership comes from her: pass the ball to me! It doesn’t matter even if she hadn’t scored before, but she takes the ball again and goes ahead, she never gives up. You have to admit, not everyone has the spirit to undertake the last throw, from which the fate of the match or even the tournament depends on.  
 
And about a person — well, you know it for sure. She is awesome…
 
 — True!
 
 — Definitely, it a great definition! She is true… What can I wish to her? I wish her luck in Norway and only victory in the Champions League!
 
… Handballfast also asked to express wishes to Anna Vyakhireva, as well as both famous in football world people, who don’t hide their sympathy to her — a legendary Lokomotiv coach Yury Semin and Spartak player Egor Titov.   
 
 — Once I really compared Anya to football player Leo Messi, — said in the interview to Handballfast the trainer, who lead Lokomotiv to the gold of the Russian championship three times, who is called by fans just Palich. — Anthropometry is similar, as well as the ability to leave the defenders out in the cold… The desire to compete with the best athletes in the world is understandable, so I share her ambition to play in the Champions league, so I wish her success there. 
 
Yury Semin
 
 — I even didn’t know, that it was Yury Palich, who likened Vyakhireva to the great Argentinian, — said Titov in an exclusive interview to Handballfast, — I came to the same comparison by myself: she is also left-handed on the court, possesses outstanding game intellect too, fantastic dribbling… We are on excellent terms, and when I write her a message, I address her just "Messi"! Certainly, I would like to wish Anna good luck, and now we will support her new club Vipers Kristiansand.  
 
 
Photo: HC Rostov-Don press, sport.business-gazeta.ru, ria.ru
 
Authors: Alexey Lebedev, M.Lyubimova
 
 
 
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