Athletistic / Football. In the 2023/2024 season, Dynamo Moscow was very close to the championship. The Blue and Whites have not won a national championship since 1976 and so this triumph could not only be long awaited, but even fateful for their supporters. However, no miracles happened and Dynamo, one point behind national champion Zenit, ultimately settled for bronze medals.

Due to the race for the championship, many media did not pay attention to the fact that Fedor Smolov ultimately lost his place at Dynamo. The blue and white graduate returned to his hometown club in 2022 and has been one of the club’s main assets even at 33 years old. However, in the last campaign he was kicked out of the starting lineup by Konstantin Tyukavin, who was playing at the highest level. As a result, Smolov did not think twice and left Dynamo, returning to Krasnodar. It was in this club that Fedor spent the best years of his career.

Smolov, after leaving Lokomotiv for Dynamo, was bright and productive. In 11 matches in the spring of the 2021/2022 RPL season, he scored five goals. However, this did not help the dynamo stay in the championship race. The Blue and White finished this campaign in third place, behind not only Zenit, but also Sochi.

Already in the next first full season after returning to Dynamo, Smolov played 24 matches in the RPL and scored 10 goals. It was on him as the main striker that Slavisa Jokanovic was counting. However, the Blue and White’s results were lower than expected, which is why the Serbian was fired mid-season. He was replaced at Dynamo by Marcel Licka.

Photo source: FC Dynamo Moscow

At first, it was Smolov who was the club’s main striker during Lička’s reign. In the first round, Fedor entered the field in the starting lineup 13 times in 15 matches. In the first five matches, the experienced striker scored three goals; he scored another goal against Paris NN in the 8th round of the RPL. But that’s all… Over the remaining 22 rounds, Smolov did not score a single goal in the RPL. The only positive spring of the season was his goal in the Russian Cup match against Orenburg.

But the decline in Smolov’s performances is due to the fact that in the second half of the season the striker began to appear on the field much less often. The Dynamo coaching staff counted on Tyukavin, and Smolov was intended for the role of a reserve striker, whose task was to replace the last 10-15 minutes of the match.

In the spring, the media claimed that there was a conflict between Marcel Lička and Fedor Smolov. The coach was reportedly very unhappy with the striker’s dedication and clear reluctance to work in defense. However, both the Czech and the Russian denied this information.

If you know Dynamo’s plan under Lichka, it is not surprising that Smolov became a reserve. The fact is that the Czech plays with only one central striker and Tyukavin is now better suited to this role. In the fall of 2023, Lichka tried to play Smolov in the “false nine” position and also repeatedly sent him to the left flank of the attack, but nothing good came of it. Therefore, the non-renewal of the contract between Smolov and Dynamo did not surprise anyone.

Photo source: FC Dynamo Moscow

And Smolov could be very useful in Krasnodar. This is despite the fact that the Bulls, like Dynamo, play primarily with just one striker in the lineup. In the 2023/2024 season, it was undoubtedly John Cordoba. However, it is well known that the Colombian wants to leave the RPL. European clubs have been interested in him for over two years and John stayed in Russia purely because of the financial aspect of his contract.

But even if Cordoba isn’t going anywhere, he needs a quality replacement. And Murad Musaev should be able to vary the pattern. And free agent Smolov will definitely not spoil the weather for the RPL silver medalist last season.

“Krasnodar” is perhaps the main team in Fedor Smolov’s career. The forward played for three years in southern Russia and is the Bulls’ all-time leading scorer. In the jersey of the Krasnodar club, Smolov played 101 matches and scored 64 goals.

If “Krasnodar” once again manages to challenge “Zenith” in the race for the championship, then Fedor Smolov will definitely not interfere with the “bulls”. The green-blacks deserved to win the first title in the club’s history. Sergei Galitsky is waiting for him, the city is waiting for him, almost all of Russian football is waiting for him. Maybe except for two capital letters.

Nikita Serbakov, Athletistic