Vadim Vararu


Born on the 15th of December 1981, the Russian footballer Roman Pavlyuchenko is 188cm tall and weighs 78kg. This height makes the experienced Spartakian pretty good in the air, but not perfect, as can be seen by the fact that he scores more goals with his feet. Pavlyuchenko is able to shoot equally well with both his right and his left foot and his potent free kicks breathe fear into opposing defenders and goalkeepers. The forward’s high work-rate has brought and continues to yield great returns for Spartak Moscow, as Pavlyuchenko can easily steal the ball from a defender, having that strikers’ habit of being in the right place, at the right time. It would be misleading to say that he is extremely fast, but he still has enough pace to accelerate away from all but the quickest centre-backs.

Roman Anatolyevich Pavlyuchenko used to play football almost every day after his family had moved from Krasnodarskiy Kray to Cherkessk. But, basically, it was just street football with his friends, just the same football that everyone has played during their teenage years. Roman could scarcely have believed then, that in approximately 9-10 years he’d become the Russian national team’s hero and one of the best forwards in the entire Russian Premier League. He started his career at the age of 16, when “SDIUSHOR” from Stavropol (СДЮШОР) spotted his potential on the football field. He played and trained in the sports boarding school until 1999. 

Pavlyuchenko’s first professional club was “Dinamo” Stavropol, where he arrived together with a raft of other new players charged with the task of replacing several of the club’s key players, who had left after a dispute with the management. After his very first season at Dinamo, several Russian clubs showed interest in the young Roman. Agents from CSKA Moscow and Shinik Yaroslavl sent scouts to watch him constantly and both were keen on signing Pavlyuchenko. However, both were trumped by more persistent admirers, Rotor Volgograd.

It was pretty difficult for a 19 year old beginner to become accustomed to life at Rotor. The 1st division was everything that Pavlyuchenko was not prepared for. He was not ready for that tough and rough football that was played in Russia’s first division and the experience was a difficult one as he was plunged into this unforgiving environment. Rotor’s manager switched the young Pavlyuchenko between the first and reserve teams and he played for Rotor Volgograd for three seasons. Roman had by this time been called up for the Russian junior national team and it was clear to all at Rotor that they couldn’t hold onto him for much longer.

Before the 2002 Russian championship had finished, the young Pavlyuchenko had agreed to join Spartak Moscow. 

Roman arrived at Spartak just as the club’s best forward Vladimir Beschatnyh had left. This was a perfect opportunity to show Spartak and Russian football in general what he could do, but it was also a daunting challenge. At the start of the championship Pavlyuchenko looked anything but Beschatnyh’s replacement, but in a short period of time Roman succeeded in improving his technique and physical condition, and finished the season on a high. He acquired the love and respect of the club’s fans and his team-mates as he ended the campaign with 16 goals.

Though Pavlyuchenko hasn’t picked up too many trophies, he has played in Europe on a number of occasions and been watched by scouts from a whole host of top clubs. If he continues his form of the past few seasons it won’t be long until a rich European club take him away from Spartak. Pavlyuchenko’s achievements so far are, Russia’s cup winner in 2003 and 2nd place in the Russian championship in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Surely his has many greater prizes lying in wait for him as his career progresses, and of course everybody in Russia remembers those two beautiful, priceless goals that the forward scored in the decisive match against England to help Russia qualify for the finals of Euro 2008.  

As we can see, Spartak’s striker improves year after year. Having scored 13 goals in 2005, 21 in 2006, he notched up another 22 in 2007. What to expect in 2008? There is no doubt that one of his dreams is to play in a major international tournament and he’s looking forward to Euro 2008. Pavlyuchenko will try his upmost to repay the faith Guus Hiddink has shown in him.

As the Russian Premier League resumes, we can surely look forward to another string of fine performances from Roman Pavlyuchenko. Euro 2008 is going to introduce him to a wider audience and on the international stage what Russians already know will be confirmed. There is a new wonderkid in town.