We've chosen the most interesting questions for Rifat Zhemaletdinov asked by FC Rubin supporters as a part of our #RubinOnline project at our social media. Rifat has determined the best question and will give his signed T-shirt as a present.
- Rifat, who brought football into your life?
- Before starting practicing football, I had tried many other kinds of sport like boxing, swimming, ice-hockey. Then I started practicing football and I liked it. It was my father who brought football into my life, making me join my first football team. I loved it and it turned out that it was a life-time passion.
- What was the most memorable moment in your football career?
- It’s hard to say. There have been lots of them. Well, I guess it was when our U19 National team won the European Championship. It was so exciting. Hard to express. There was another memorable moment: I mean my Premier League debut.
It was so amazing, though my performance in that match was not so good, as I came off the bench getting a yellow card immediately. But I was really happy to get into professional sports.
- How does it feel to score a goal? How does it feel having scored against your ex-team?
- Scoring goals is great. The striker’s job is to score goals and that of the midfielder is to assist. Regarding scoring against an ex-team, well, it’s complicated, it´s a kind of strange feeling: on the one hand, it’s cool and at the same time you feel sorry for your ex-partners, you know the players, the goalkeeper. It’s an awkward feeling. But you should help your own team and it’s great.
- Hello, Rifat, who was your idol and who was an example for you to follow? I mean a player who plays the same position that you. Which is your five players dream team?
- Since I was kid, I´ve liked the way Cristiano Ronaldo played and I like him still. I´ve been following his performance, his playing manner, the false movements, tricks he´s using and tried to learn from him.
My dream is as follows: Ronaldo, Neymar, Messi, Agüero, Bale
- Were you a good pupil at school?
- I´ve graduated having good marks only, I was a «B» student. Actually, my parents were really unhappy and were scolding me if I got a “C”, so I tried to get only good marks. My favourite subject was chemistry at first but then I disliked it.
- What do you eat in the morning?
- If I´m having enough time, I drink a cup of tea with a sandwich and some quark. If I don´t have enough time and I have to go, then I go straight to the training ground and have a breakfast there.
- Which is the most positive event in your life and what is your biggest dream?
- Well, in terms of sports, my biggest dream is to win the Champions League. And in normal life I would like to have a family a big and happy one. Regarding the most positive event… well the best is still ahead of me, hopefully.
-What should one do to overcome the fear of making a mistake?
- There is no universal solution as such. At the moment when you step on the pitch, your legs are trembling, you are trembling inside always, but once you touch the ball, this fear goes away and then you keep on playing with no fear. You are just getting absorbed with the game, it´s only the game, the ball, your partners and you. Then this fear would not come back.
- We are Rubin fans and we are curious who is in charge of the team spirit ahead of the game to make the team united both tactically and spiritually on the pitch.
- Well, we are all helping, supporting and motivating each other before the game no matter whether you are a freshman or a team veteran. We are all one team and we are all one fist. Of course, it is our head coach, Mr. Berdyev, who is raising our spirit and our morale-boosting. But there are certain players as well who are in charge of it: it’s Gökdeniz and Navas.
- You were a faster player before, now you are not that fast. What’s going on? Are you getting old or is it just not required from you now?
- Yeah, I’m getting old. It’s no fun getting old (laughs). Well, regarding my speed I think it’s still quite high. Our training tests show that I’m still one of the fastest players in the team.
- What does football mean to you? What would you like to do if you had not been a football player?
- Football is a hobby which has become my job but it’s the sense of my life at the same time. If I had not been a football player, probably, I would be working in a bank now. My dad works in a bank, I guess he would have helped me to get employed there (smiles)
- What was your first team and how challenging was it for you to get there?
- When I first got into a football team it was at school. I was a trial, where the coaches tested our speed, how fast we were, our technical skills and then they I asked me, was it possible for me to be go as far as Cherkisovo. Well, Cherkisovo was like Vladivostok for me at that moment! It was far away from my place and our family had no car. So we went there, it was a trial and then I was told that I was in. That was how I got to the Lokomotiv Academy. It was 40-50 minutes going by underground, getting up really early, I would go there with my mom and my younger sister, she was very little at that time. So we kept on riding like that for like 5 years. Those times were not easy.
- Who is the most technically skilled player among your partners?
- All our players have technique. But I would like to dwell on Ruben Rochina. He’s a Spanish player and you can note it.
- Do you speak Tatar? Which is your favorite tatar dish? Have you ever been to Sabantuy (a traditional Tatar summer festival that is timed to the end of the sowing campaign)? Have you taken part in köräş (traditional Tatar wrestling competition as a part Sabantuy)?
- Although I don´t speak Tatar, I do understand it. As for the dishes, I love öçpoçmaqs, they are delicious, I can eat several of them at once.
And yes, I´ve been to Sabantuy. It was Kochko-Pozharki village in the Nizhny Novgorod region. We were playing football there, there was a wrestling competition. Once I took part in this wrestling competition, it was when I was kid of 7 years old. There are only few details I really remember now.
- What did your parents say when they learnt that you are moving to Kazan?
- They were thinking it over for long before making a decision. My mom even started crying when she learnt, she did not want to let me go. My dad said: it’s your decision, we will respect it. Evidently I made a decision to move to Kazan. Now they are coming and visit me in their spare time. My dad likes Kazan even more than Moscow, he would join and stay here with me if had not been for his job.
- Rifat, do you have any ritual before stepping on the pitch?
- A prayer. I always pray before stepping on the pitch. Many players do it, no matter which religion you belong to.
- Why do you smile so seldom?
-. Let’s take the first place and I will be smiling more often. I´m looking forward to it.
- Rifat, what do you think about rap battles?
- My team partners had recommended me some battles, but I have not watched them so far. Taras Burlak and Georgi Makhatadze have, but me – not.
- Imagine you are going to a desert island and you are allowed to take only one partner with you, whom would you take?
- I´d take Taras Burlak. He´s great, and if we would die there, the reason would not be the hunger but his jokes, he’s able to make anyone laugh to death.
- Are there any online game you play? What do you prefer: Playstation or video game console?
- Regarding the video game consoles, it’s FIFA 18, NHL 18, Uncharted, Tom Clancy. I like playing these games when I have spare time. I like PC as well, it’s Counter Strike, Battle Ground. I like to play with guys from Rubin, Rostov, Amkar such as Ustinov, Bukharin, Gasilin, Makhatadze.
-I’ve heard of your hobby. You are a fisherman. Which is the biggest fish you have picked up and how heavy it was?
-I like fishing, I like going there with my cousins. The biggest fish was a 7,5 kg common carp. It was hard to pick it up, but it was amazing. I have not brought my fishing equipment when I moved to Kazan. So I’m not fishing here. Actually, it was my grandfather who got me hooked on fishing. I was five years old when he gave me and my cousins three fishing rods. I like fishing but we always let the fish go.