He was supposed to be “the new Real Madrid”, 10 years later he disappeared: history of Anzhi, emblem of the political use of football

The oligarch Suleyman Kerimov he once said he would transform theAnzhi Makhachkala in the “new Real Madrid”. Seven days after the conquest by the “old men” Real Madrid of his 14th European Cup, Anzhi was not granted a license to enter the National Football League 2the third tier of Russian football, effectively decreeing its demise football professional. In fact, Kerimov had long since left Anzhi to his fate, having invested more than 230 million euros in the 2011-2013 triennium just to buy players, taking the concept of football to the extreme. . political tool and of propagandagiven the amount of resources invested in such a short period and, above all, in a club without history and tradition.

Anzhi was not comparable to ChelseaManchester City or al Paris Saint Germain, all companies with a significant past, identity and showcase (including international) even before joining the millionaire football elite. Anzhi was only about fifteen years old, that’s how it was 300 media viewers and came from a big football nothing surrounded by war, terrorism (the Caucasian republic of Dagestan had the highest annual mortality rate), unemployment and poverty. About ten years ago the new The Golden from the balloon it looked like it was coming East, where through football emerged subjects capable of putting realities hitherto unknown in the world. From Tatarstan came the Rubin Kazanable to win in Barcelona Champions at the Camp Nou. From Chechnya arose the Terek Groznywhose head Ramzan Kadyrov he came to hire as a coach Ruud Gullit. Finally there was theAnzhi of Kerimov with its seemingly unlimited spending potential.

It all started with a precise political strategy decentralization desired by Vladimir To put. Moscow was pushing oligarchs – each of which owned in the Kremlin a kyshna (roof in Russian), or an intermediary / lobbyist who moves within a delicate balance of power – to invest in the country’s hotspots, circulating some of the enormous wealth accumulated. Thus, a seemingly worthless pearl (in the language Kumyk in fact Anzhi means pearl and was also the ancient name of the city of Makhachkala) transforms into a star team with the arrivals of Samuel Eto’oYouri Zirkhov, WillianMbark Boussoufa, Balázs DzsudzsákDiego Tardelli, The toyLassana Diarra, Roberto Carlos (first player, then technical director) and, on the bench, Guus Hiddink. The numbers were staggering: Eto’o earned 20 million euros a year (then the highest paid player in the world), Hiddink 12 (when he returned to the bench in 2014).Netherlands had to cut his salary by almost 90%), Roberto Carlos 10. Ignoring i benefits: to give an example, a player not of the highest level as Boussoufa took home 2.5 million net a year, was housed in an apartment for 11 thousand euros a month with saunaswimming pool ia Private jet for business trips in Morocco when he was called up for selection. Roberto Carlos was a disappointment, however Kerimov at home, a heavily armored village To fly with “not less than 15 soldiers including surveillance officers and bodyguards” (hence the Brazilian), and gave him the keys to a Bugatti Veyron from 2 million euros.

Anzhi looked like that Hollywood: five star hotels, limousines, unbridled luxury, a multipurpose center (obtained outside Moscow from the former headquarters of the Saturnclub failed) for being the envy of the great di Premier League. All in Moscow, 1600 kilometers from Makhachkala, where people were just going to play. Players landed Friday night, were escorted to a military camp surrounded by walls and barbed wire meters, and left the bunker just for the game. Then they returned to Moscow, because the Dagestan it was not a safe place, despite the club’s sporting director officially Alemany Chistjakov he spoke of moves needed not because of the danger of the area but because of the lack of proper training facilities. Anzhi was very interested in communication and image, and invested accordingly. When the team met theUdinese in the group stage of the 2012/13 season of the Europa League, for the trip to Udine invited 250 boys from the youth sector of the Belluno to the Friuli, gave each one a T-shirt and invited them to cheer on Anzhi. Children were often the focus campaigns promotional Anzhi, whose sponsor was a children’s foundation. “Who knows if they are the same children,” the journalist wrote Elena Milashina on his Dossier of the Caucasus“Forced to attend the executions in a public square made by the militias of Kerimov when they find people who have offered food to rebel fighters. ”

In August 2013, two years after the arrogant decline of Kerimov, it’s all over. In ten days, the oligarch dismantled the entire team, collecting almost 100 million euros, giving the welcome (with rich severance pay) also a Hiddinkwho had led the club Europe for the second consecutive season. His deputy, Kidney Meulensteenpromoted to head coach, lasted 16 days, but it was not a matter of little confidence either dissatisfaction of management, as for the closing of the taps. Shortly before, in fact, Kerimov had broken the sign between the Uralkalithe potash company of which he was the largest shareholder, and the Belarusfor an operation that had cost him half a billion euros, an international arrest warrant and the wrath of To put. In January 2014, the last survivors of the international squad greeted the club. Diarrhea I The toy. At the end of the season, Anzhi was relegated to the second division with only 3 wins and 20 points in total. worst performance of the year in a European Championship. In the same period, UEFA fined the club rape of the rules of financial fair play. Since then it has been a matter of mere survival with water in the throat. It doesn’t take long for the conditions to get tougher economic level pushed the club to ask for help from who, along with Eto’o, was the symbolic player of the golden age of Anzhi, ie Roberto Carles. Through a message spread to the Russian media, the Brazilian requested the intervention of investors to save the club. Mission failed. What was once a luxury toy has ended up in the trash.

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