The World Cup is traditionally a breakthrough event for many young players. With kick-off time getting closer and closer, The Cult of Calcio’s next trip is across the Top 10 most talented young players to keep an eye for in Russia – in order of their expected appearance in the competition…
With that suffering expression of his, Aleksandr Golovin reminds of Aleksei Ivanovich, the main character of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella The Gambler. But rather than going through his fictional alter ego’s pains, Golovin could be Russia’s young leader in the upcoming World Cup.
Aleksandr Golovin, a talented midfielder playing for CSKA Moscow, just turned 22 on May 30. His name is on many European top club notepads, including Juventus and Manchester United. At 180 cms and 75 kgs, he plays as inside forward, and is a perfect fit for a three-man midfield line, thanks to a good shot and an outstanding vision of the game.
Born in Kaltan in Southern Siberia, Golovin is just out of a pretty good season with his club – as CSKA Moscow reached the Europa League Quarter Finals, before being sent off by Arsenal. He has been through all Russian youth teams, and has already participated to Euro 2016. The upcoming one will be his first World Cup though.
With Russia having lost many of their key players along the way, responsibilities will be even higher for Aleksandr Golovin, who will have the honor, together with his teammates, of opening the 21st edition of the World Cup. The Russians are basically obliged to win against Saudi Arabia, as their next opponents in Pool A, Uruguay and Egypt, will likely pose bigger threats.
Golovin will get his chances to be known on the world stage, in order to maybe land a deal with a bigger club than his home CSKA Moscow. But he will need to put his tokens at stake at the Russian roulette first. Just like the gambler Aleksei Ivanovich did, and even if in football you get more control over your fate.
The young Russian hope is ready for his first real challenge in his short professional career. Not on a casino green table, but on the green grass of the World Cup pitches.
Translated by Matteo Carnevale