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Igor Akinfeev
Igor Akinfeev
Date of birth:

April 8, 1986

Nationality:

Russia

Position:

Goalkeeper

Team:

CSKA Moskva

Igor Vladimirovich Akinfeev (Russian: Игорь Владимирович Акинфеев; IPA: [ˈiɡərʲ vlɐˈdʲimʲɪrəvʲɪtɕ ɐkʲɪnˈfʲeɪf]; born 8 April 1986) is a Russian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for and captains both PFC CSKA Moscow and the Russia national team.

He has spent his entire career at CSKA, making 501 official appearances. He won six Russian Premier League titles, and six Russian Cups, as well as the UEFA Cup in 2005.

A full international for Russia since 2004, he has earned 100 caps and has been selected in their squads for three UEFA European Championships and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was named captain of Russia in March 2017, after the retirement of his predecessor Vasili Berezutski.

Akinfeev is a member of the Lev Yashin Club and has kept more clean sheets in Russian football than any other goalkeeper.

International careerEdit

Akinfeev made his debut for the Russian national team in a friendly match against Norway, Russia lost 2-3, on 28 April 2004, aged 18 years and 20 days. He thus became the third youngest player to compete for Russia after Eduard Streltsov and Sergey Rodionov and the youngest international footballer ever in the history of the Russian Federation. He was later included into the Russian UEFA Euro 2004 squad as the third choice goalkeeper behind Sergei Ovchinnikov and Vyacheslav Malafeev.

His major competitive debut was on 30 March 2005, in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Estonia and he was later promoted to Russia's first-choice goalkeeper after a long-term injury to Malafeev. Akinfeev kept his first choice place under Yuri Semin and later Guus Hiddink. On 6 May 2007, Akinfeev suffered a knee injury in a 1–1 draw against FC Rostov which put him out of action for four months. As a result, he lost his first choice position to Vyacheslav Malafeev and later Vladimir Gaboulov. He returned to the Russian national squad in early November but was deemed unfit for the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel. Akinfeev later re-established his first choice place for Russia at UEFA Euro 2008, and played every match as the nation reached the semi-finals.

He was confirmed for the finalized UEFA Euro 2012 squad on 25 May 2012, but Malafeev played all of Russia's matches and the nation was eliminated in the group stages. On 2 June 2014, Akinfeev was included in Russia's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad,

In Russia's first group match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup against South Korea, Akinfeev fumbled a long-range shot from Lee Keun-ho, dropping it over the line to give the Koreans the lead. Russia then went on to equalize, and the match finished 1–1. The final group stage match between Algeria and Russia on 26 June ended 1–1, advancing Algeria and eliminating Russia. A win for Russia would have seen them qualify, and they led the game 1–0 after six minutes. In the 60th minute of the game, a green laser was shone in Akinfeev's face while he was defending from an Algerian free kick, from which Islam Slimani scored to equalise. Both Akinfeev and Russian coach Fabio Capello blamed the laser for the decisive conceded goal.

Akinfeev played his third UEFA European Championship for Russia at UEFA Euro 2016 as the national team finished bottom of Group B with only one point from three matches.

He was selected as captain for Russia's 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup campaign on home soil and kept a clean sheet as the Russian's defeated New Zealand 2–0 in the tournament's opening match. On 21 June, in Russia's second group match, Akinfeev won his 100th cap for the national team.