Boris Rotenberg Jr, family friend of Vladimir Putin, has unexpected rise to peak of Russian football
Published 06/05/2015 | 16:34
Boris Rotenberg Junior, the son of Russian billionaire oligarch Boris Rotenberg, has had such an unexpected rise to the top in the later stages of his football career that some people are questioning the legitimacy of his place in the team.
The decision by Dynamo Moscow manager Stanislav Cherchesov to give Rotenberg, 28, his first ever real run in the first team instead of Russia's international first choice right back, Alexei Kozlov, caused an outcry in the dressing room, with outspoken Russia international Igor Denisov clashing with the coach.
All Rotenberg has ever needed is one chance. Just one. At anyone of those ten different clubs
It hasn't always been plain sailing for Rotenberg - his career has been spent largely drifting around the fringes of the teams he has played for.
His wide and eclectic mix of clubs include Yaroslavl and Ramenskoye, where he played just five minutes in total, FC Khimki, the club that his father's bank sponsored at that time, Maccabi Tel Aviv, former Russian champions Alania Vladikavkaz and then in 2011, Dynamo Moscow.
The defender, who grew up in Finland, didn't play for Dynamo Moscow until 2013 when, coincidentally, his Dad took over the club as president.
That Rotenberg senior was Vladimir Putin's judo sparring partner in his youth also had absolutely no effect in the decision being made to suddenly promote Rotenberg Junior to first team player.
"Rotenberg, like all Dynamo footballers, plays with passion," his team-mate Mathieu Valbuena said in a recent interview.
"He gives everything he has to achieve the desired result. I can't say anything bad about him."
The suspicion and ill feeling which surrounds the situation stems from sentences like the one in bold above. Although Rotenberg may very well have worked hard to earn his place, one fears the way this sentence was worded might have been done so carely, and meant all too literally for fear of repercussion.
It's almost as if people suspect someone like Vladimir Putin might attempt to manipulate people to get his own way. But that's ridiculous - get out of town!
"I have been working for this for a very long time," Rotenberg Junior commented.
"And I'm very happy that my work hasn't gone unnoticed. It shows that I am doing everything right."
Rotenberg's displays in the Russian Premier League have even impressed Finland national coach Mixu Paatelainen who has called up the defender for the upcoming EURO 2016 qualifier against Hungary.
Rotenberg's reaction to the call up:
"I consider myself to be Russian but for the moment it looks like the Russian team is not interested in my services."
Conspiracists might forgive Russia international manager Fabio Capello were he to ensure Rotenberg doesn't make his debut for Finland and ruin his chances of playing for Russia, as it would seem to be within Capello's best interests to do so.
Thus far the call up hasn't been made and doesn't seem likely. A number of horses are thought to be in fear for the well being of their heads.
I can see it now - the press conference as Capello takes to the microphone:
"I am delighted to finally own my own oil field. On an unrelated note, I have also decided to call up Rotenberg Junior to the Russia squad."
So remember kids, if you want to make it as a footballer, you need to copy Boris Rotenberg's example: never give up, work really hard, and be the family friend of a dangerous Russian oligarch currently threatening world peace. That's all you need!