Russian football ‘annihilated,’ says Man Utd legend

Andrei Kanchelskis said Russia’s national football team can forget about playing anyone for “30 years”

Manchester United and Russia legend Andrei Kanchelskis has tipped his country’s national team to encounter a difficult future as it currently lingers in the “abyss” and will fail to find opponents for “30 years,” the former winger says.

Kanchelskis spoke to Sport24 in his homeland and was reacting to a recent announcement made by Russia manager Valeri Karpin.

With Russia excluded from international competitions due to FIFA and UEFA bans as a response to the military operation in Ukraine, Karpin confirmed that Russia will not hold training camps or matches over the summer in order to give the players a rest.

“As for when the team will meet next, I am not yet ready to answer this question. Let’s see how events develop,” Karpin insisted.

Considering that sanctions saw Russia excluded from the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying playoffs, and that UEFA has thrown Russia out of the Nations League too, Kanchelskis agreed with Karpin’s move wholeheartedly and would have found a reverse approach futile.

“Certainly,” Kanchelskis confirmed, when asked if it was the right decision. “What’s the point? Why just get the guys together like that?”

“When they tell us that we can play in international tournaments, then it will be possible to [call up] our players.”

“Forget it for about 30 years that the Russian team will play anywhere. We’ve got trouble, that’s what happened,” he lamented.

When told how many people believe the Russian national squad should always be called up so that the group can remain in good shape and as a team, Kanchelskis pointed out that the rest of the football community “don’t touch us” at present, and that this will only be productive when Russia can play in international tournaments.

“At the moment they’ve simply killed and annihilated us! We are in the abyss! We are in a complete mess!” Kanchelskis, 53, said of the sanctions imposed on Russian football.

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Winning two Premier League titles at Old Trafford in the early 90s, the Ukraine-born Kanchelskis clinched the European Under-21 Championship with the former Soviet Union before going on to score three times in 17 appearances for the senior outfit.

For Russia, Kanchelskis netted on four occasions in 36 outings and represented them at Euro ’92 and Euro ’96.

Given he led a player boycott against head coach Pavel Sadyrin at the time, however, Kanchelskis did not star for Russia at the USA ’94 World Cup.

Kanchelskis also enjoyed a club career which took in spells at Everton, Glasgow Rangers, and Fiorentina, among others.