Rumori di Spogliatoio

Levadia, 2014 Estonian Champions

Angelo PalmeriComment
Roman was the undiscussed protagonist between the sticks in 2014 too (RdS)

Roman was the undiscussed protagonist between the sticks in 2014 too (RdS)

GOALKEEPERS

Roman Smiśko (UKR)

Another season and another set of achievements. Apart from collecting the second title in a row as Captain, the Ukrainian giant confirmed to be the Estonian 'Lord of the Box'. He suffered just 19 goals and managed to keep a clean sheet for over 1,000 minutes including the Estonian Cup and the European cups. Ca va sans dire, Premium Liiga Best Goalkeeper once and again.
Rating: 8

Priit Pikker and Kristian Tamme
They were mostly unused this season, therefore we cannot really evaluate their performances.

 

DEFENDERS

Maksim Podholjuzin

The worst moment of the season was when he was sent off as the Levadia-Kalju derby was only 4-minute-old. Other than that, solid performances on the right flank and the call-up from Magnus Pehrsson which confirms he is taken into account among the most interesting Estonian players of Premium Liiga.
Rating: 6,5

Tipuric mastering in the air against Narva Trans. Positive signing during the Summer transfer (fclevadia.ee)

Tipuric mastering in the air against Narva Trans. Positive signing during the Summer transfer (fclevadia.ee)

Toni Tipuric (AUT)
Signed to replace Alexei Jahhimovitś (contract terminated due to matchfixing involvement for deeds committed back in 2012) the Austrian central defender with Bosnian descent managed to adapt quickly to the local football and even to stand out in the central defence several times, especially at the end of the season. The start was a bit difficult with several mistakes and an excessive proneness to fouling. Good signing.
Rating: 6,5 

Artjom Artjunin
He made it once and again in the Best XI, however Artjom showed less self-confidence compared to last season when he reached the acme by being called up for the national team by Tarmo Rüütli. We are sure it's all tied with the fact that his name was made within the matchfixing scandal that involved his teammate and defense partner, Jahhimovitś. From next season onwards it's time to put wings, either at Levadia or elsewhere if the opportunity comes.
Rating: 6

Artur Pikk
From travelling the distance on the Premium Liiga flanks to the international stardom following the game against England. This was the extraordinary season of Artur 'The Soldier' Pikk. His picture with military clothes after the international game (it's second cap and first as start!) has gone around the web for days. When the dust settled, he offered an outstanding performance in the derby against Flora in the same stadium where he battled with Rooney&Co. The importance of being ordinary when needed. 
Rating: 7

Other defenders
Alexei Jahhimovits played a fair first part of season before being hit by the Estonian FA with a ban until the end of the year. Unfortunately we cannot evaluate his effort properly. Oleksandr Volchkov was loaned to Lokomotiv Jõhvi. Alexandr Kulinits contract was also terminated due to his alleged involvement in the matchfixing scandal.

 
Andreas Raudsepp is an important piece of the Levadia's mosaic (fclevadia.ee)

Andreas Raudsepp is an important piece of the Levadia's mosaic (fclevadia.ee)

MIDFIELDERS

Andreas Raudsepp

Levadia's jolly has confirmed his importance, both tactically and technically. He is more endowed than anyone can think (check his assists for Teever and Kruglov in the comeback win against Kalju) and, as usual, can play anywhere in defence and midfield. His importance at Levadia was even noticed by Magnus Pehrsson who might call him in future.
Rating: 8

Alexandr Dmitrijev
Set to leave Levadia and Estonia in wintertime to try and grab probably his last contract abroad, he simply stayed at bay to cure his aches and pains. Once he realized the train (transfer) had passed, he humbly returned to his former employer and little by little regained his place in the middle of the park starting from the double team. Favoured by Vukobratovic injuries, the process became quicker.
Rating: 6

Antonov holds the same number of jerseys he has at Levadia (www.ejl.ee)

Antonov holds the same number of jerseys he has at Levadia (www.ejl.ee)

Dragomir Vukobratovic (CRO)
The Crvena Zvezda (aka Red Star Belgrade) output offered a valid contribution to the Levadia title until a series of injuries sidelined him for most of the times in the second part of the season. Together with Tipuric and Penic formed a 'Balkan Mafia' within Levadia that could help the Champions in next season's European campaign if they were to stay at the club.
Rating: 6

Ilja Antonov
The midfield engine of Levadia was transplanted onto the national team where he has become a regular. Pehrsson deploys him in the unusual role of left wing, however he did not make a fuzz and helped the Eesti Koondis to perform against Slovenia and England, being one of the few positive ones in Lithuania. It is a deserved reward for a fundamental player at Levadia. Technical and quick, he is very able in the small spaces thanks to his futsal background. If he trains more shooting from distance, he will become a complete modern midfielder.
Rating: 7,5

Omar El-Hussieny (EGY)
The first Egyptian in Premium Liiga and the first Egyptian to won a domestic title in Estonia (Estonian Cup in May). The initial scepticism from the local press, more interested about the place where he lives in Tallinn than his football skills, was soon turned into praise. Omar is among the most positive foreign signings ever as he contributed with his technical skills to rise the quality of the game. Clean-cut crosses and through-balls, witty dribblings and an overall good sense of position are the qualities that have made Levadia game attractive. When he was sidelined for an injury, Levadia lost its added value between the lines. Fielded on the flank, we're still curious to know what he could do in a trequartista role, the one he prefers as he told to Rumori in a long interview back in May.
Rating: 7

Dmitri Kruglov
Dima's story was similar to Dmitrjev. Off to Azerbaijan, he returned to Estonia at the end of the season after picking up an injury. Initially set to find another destination abroad, he then opted for training with his old club until he decided to join the ranks before the Summer transfer deadline would have been over. Incredible how he helped Levadia winning the derby against Kalju exactly as one year ago. Crucial player looking for his place back into the national team.
Rating: 7,5

Other midfielders
Marek Kaljumäe was the usual reserve to fill the gap, especially before Dmtrijev made a comeback, useful (rating: 6). Jan Penic (GER) was given full 90' as a start only 4 times, however his goals (3) and assists (4) contributed especially in Levadia's large wins. A left wing, might give an option to Kristal to try to implement 4-2-3-1 with El-Hussieny trequartista for next season (rating: 6). Heiko Tamm was mostly a reserve who managed to deliver 7 assists. The most memorable goal was the winner in San Marino against La Fiorita scored in injury time at his European debut (rating: 6,5). Too little time for Pavel Marin, Jere Aallikko (FIN) and Rasmus Peetson to rate their season at Levadia. The latter was signed from Pärnu and managed to score his first Premium Liiga goal, he is born 1995.

 
Igor Subbotin (RdS)

Igor Subbotin (RdS)

STRIKERS
Igor Subbotin

He is a right wing and can play behind a striker. Born a midfield player, he is been adapted into striker due to the shortage suffered by Levadia (Rättel early injury and Ivanov late departure before end of season). It was a good move as Levadia could enjoy his striking vein in fact Igor has become the Levadia's topscorer. A couple of goals against Flora in two of the four derbies make his seasonal performance remarkable.
Rating: 7,5

Ingemar Teever

Probably he is not the most graceful striker ever seen on an Estonian top-flight pitch, however Ingemar showed he can still be decisive in the big derbies (historically, he has scored in all the three ones) and deadly in the aerial game in the box. 14 precious goals under his belt and the call-up by Magnus Pehrsson ahead of the last international break of the season . After 8 years since his last game with the blue jersey.
Rating: 7

Other strikers
Vladislav Ivanov
departed for contractual reasons. However, until that far, he was Levadia's topscorer. Stopped at 19 goals and his contribution must be taken into account with a good rating: 7,5. Artur Rättel's unluck continued this year with a more serious injury, we wish him to return in 2015. Not a lot of playing time for Henry Rohtla and Kristen Saarts, the latter signed from Pärnu Linnameeskond during the summer.
All we remember from Arsenij Buinickij (LTU) is this overhead kick against Kalev amid the snow in March.

AgJ9Ot on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs
Buinickij produced himself in one of the most nice goals of the season

THE COACH
Marko Kristal

Considering how the season was going, we can only praise his die-hard attitude. He never gave up the title-fight and motivated also his playes for the big games. The balance of the derbies shows that: 4 wins and 4 draws. What maybe lacked, was to keep the motivation high in some other games (0-3 to Sillamäe and the two losses against Infonet, especially the second one following the wins in the derbies). At the same time, he managed to bring this season to an end among injuries and squad problems (Jahhimovitś and Ivanov). The European campaign cannot be deemed satisfied, therefore he needs to focus better on that for next season especially on the tactical point of view, giving another formation option besides his dear 4-4-2. He has the players to do that if everyone will be confirmed. In the end, he won the title with just one month on top of the table. Winner's instinct.
Rating: 7 

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