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Roman on Rubin

Roman Pavlyuchenko feels Rubin Kazan's success in recent years has been built on the team ethic.

Roman Pavlyuchenko feels Rubin Kazan's success in recent years has been built on the team ethic.

Russian champions in 2008 and 2009, the team from the Russian state of Tartarstan qualified for the group stages of the Champions League in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons and just missed out in the play-offs this time around, going out to Lyon.

Our Russian striker 'Pav' crossed swords on numerous occasions with Rubin during his time playing domestic football in his homeland with Spartak Moscow, with his side frequently fighting out for the championship with the team from Kazan.

More often than not, Spartak held the upperhand while Pav was there, finishing above Rubin in the table, if not actually winning it themselves.

Towards the end of his days with Spartak, however, Roman witnessed at first-hand the rise and rise of Rubin as they completed their surge from domestic minnows to Russian champions over the course of the last 20 years.

“When I was young, Rubin were only a small team and never played in the top divisions,” explained the Russian international. “They didn’t shine in our country then, but in recent years they have achieved great things and are now one of the biggest teams in Russia.

“Maybe in England people don’t know too much about them, but they are a very well-known team in Europe. They regularly qualify for the Champions League and a couple of years ago they beat Barcelona in the Nou Camp.

“They have a very good head coach in Kurban Berdyev who has built the team up since he arrived at the club.

"He has concentrated on a strong defence and encouraged a lot of top players to join the club, making them a difficult side to beat.

“It is difficult to pick out which of their players we should watch out for because they have so many good ones who can cause us problems. Many of them are my friends from the national side and I know them well.

“One of the keys to their success is that they play as a team with great spirit rather than as a group of individuals.”

Read the full interview with Pav in our official matchday programme...