Rubin Kazan's Filip Uremovic Talks About Being Home in Pozega during Corona Crisis

By 17 April 2020

April 17, 2020 - TCN's Slobodan Kadic interviews Rubin Kazan footballer Filip Uremovic upon his return home to Pozega. 

While in Russia, just like in the rest of the world, the coronavirus pandemic is spreading, and most of our footballers who make money by playing in the Russian Premier League have returned to their homeland. Since there are no more group gatherings and training, Pozega native Filip Uremovic (23), a former defender of Dinamo and Croatia's U-21 team, arrived from Kazan (820 km east of Moscow) to Zagreb and immediately headed to his native town in the 'Golden Valley'.

"At the last moment before the border closed, I left Russia, together with teammate Silvije Begic, and Kristijan Bistrovic and Slovenian Jaka Bijol from CSKA. We rented a private jet so we could be with our families during this time without football! Of course, already at the Zagreb airport, I was told I needed to self-isolate, which I respected until the end," points out Uremovic, who has been defending for first-league club Rubin for two years.


Slobodan Kadic

Other well-off Russian first-league clubs have also hit a severe crisis and have introduced austerity measures. Salaries have been cut and football players have voluntarily agreed to a 50 percent reduction in wages. According to one of Rubin's best players, their pay for March, April and May will be cut in half, though the club management notes that there is a possibility to reimburse players in the future. Coach Leonid Slutsky's players are not exactly sure how they will end up, because nothing has been signed yet.

The Russian first-league is on a forced holiday until May 31, and a decision is being made to continue the league (which should end by August 2), so everything else will be adjusted accordingly. Twenty-two rounds out of 30 were played. Rubin Kazan is currently in 14th out of 16 clubs with the same number of points as Orenburg. It's pretty dense because as many as seven clubs are within seven points. Nine points ahead of Corluka's Lokomotiv is Zenit in first, while Akhmat Grozny, the biggest contender for possible relegation from the league, is in the last place, though now everything is possible - even their stay.

"The climate is not only bad for football players but for everyone. The economic situation is not great and if I have to grit my teeth for a few months, I don't think anyone will fail because of it. I read in the news that at Liverpool, they are not cutting their salaries, but the players, in turn, are giving money for humanitarian purposes. However, the policy of each club is different and maybe some rich clubs don't have to cut anything. Oil workers fund my club and we know the current situation with oil prices. Nobody likes to lose money, but if the climate is like that, we will endure," explains Uremovic.

The Russian Federation is not small, and life in every corner of it is interesting. But the farther one is from the biggest cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg or Yekaterinburg - it is even more interesting!


Slobodan Kadic

"I'm used to Kazan and I like it because it's affordable, and the people are OK! The league is great and can progress both professionally and vitally. My football camp is about ten minutes away from the apartment, which is fantastic considering that most Russian football bases are far from the city. The only objection is that we are isolated from traffic as all flights to our part of the world go through Moscow. There used to be a direct flight to Belgrade, and it is rumored that in the near future, they could return it again, which would be a real hit," adds Uremovic, who has a contract with Rubin until June 2024.

Uremovic finished his story with the U-21 Croatia national team and can now only play for the A-team. However, he has not yet received a call, and has not spoken to coach Dalic yet.

"Of course, like every player, I expect a call, I would be happy if that happened. It is a great pride and honor to play for your country. To be honest, it's a complex issue because we have a lot of good players and the competition is great in every position. We will see in due time," hopes the Croatian legionary from Russian Tatarstan.

In Pozega, Filip trains daily, time passes by quickly with his family, the pandemic should soon cease and he will be on the first flight to Kazan, a club where he is popular and which counts on him in these difficult times. Especially since he is praised by Russia, and by the end of this part of the championship, he was one of the top three defensive players.


Slobodan Kadic

"I still need to make a lot of progress because I am a young player; statistics are one thing, and the other is being on the pitch. It's good for me to be in the company of Ivanovic, Rakitski... I'm on the right track," Uremovic concluded as modest as ever.

The Croatian defender is passing the time with the television series he adores. He is fond of the Soprano Family, and when asked whether he misses the famous Tartar and eastern dessert Çäkçäk, he answers no. He has tried this dessert several times, but he can do without it, because his mom Andreja cooks the best!

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