Igor Korneev - the first Russian football player in Barcelona
After the end of the era of Soviet football, many players got the opportunity to try their hand in Europe, in the strongest clubs in England, Spain and Italy. One of them was Igor Korneev, a football player who became the champion of the country as part of CSKA in the last USSR Championship championship. Leaving the country, he successfully played for Espanyol, was noted in several games for Barcelona, and spent the last years of an active career in various Dutch clubs, becoming in passing the UEFA Cup.
Grenade thrower and army forward
Igor Korneev was born in Moscow in 1967. Since childhood, he rooted for Torpedo, but life turned so that he became a pupil of the Moscow Spartak school. In his youth, he played for the subsidiary team "Red Presnya", then hit the double of the legendary club. At that time, the second team trained with the main team, and Igor Korneev was lucky to train under the guidance of Konstantin Beskov himself.
As the footballer himself said, then he didn’t work out in full force at the trainings, didn’t show a special desire to gain a foothold in the club and wasn’t too serious about the matter. As a result, Igor Korneev came under the next wave of military conscription, and the leadership of Spartak did not show any particular desire to help him stay in the team. For half a year a soldier of the Soviet Army faithfully gave a debt to his homeland, performing the duties of a grenade thrower, and during that time he changed a lot in his attitude to life.
However, not everyone forgot about the talented football player, and he served the remainder of his term in CSKA Moscow, where he played for the second team.
By 1987, he became the main player of the team, with which he had to go through a difficult path from the first league to the title of champions of the country in 1991. Igor Korneev in those years was one of the best strikers in the country, scoring 58 goals over the years spent as part of the army team.
Moving to Spain
Many English clubs showed interest in the talented driving forward, but Igor himself chose to move to Spain, where he became the Espanyol footballer. The second Catalan team gathered a large colony of Russian players.In addition to Korneyev, former teammates Dmitry Galyamin and Dmitry Kuznetsov, as well as Andrei Mokh from Spartak, moved to Espanyol.The Russian four helped their new club stay in Spain’s top league in the 1991/1992 season, but after Javier Clemente was fired and José Antonio Camacho came to power, the policy changed and the leadership began to get rid of Moscow immigrants.
Igor Korneev nevertheless continued to regularly score for Espanyol. Soon he got the opportunity to express himself in Barcelona, where he was invited by Tony Bruins. And they accidentally collided in one of the cafes of the city, where the coach was surprised to learn that Igor Korneev is a free agent and can easily go to any club.
At first, the Muscovite played for the back-up squad of Barcelona, however, he showed himself perfectly and deserved a call to the main team. Here he had to compete for a place on the field with Jordi Cruyff, Georgi Haji. In addition, the rules of the limit on foreign players in Spain, which did not allow the club to declare more than three foreigners for the match, acted in favor of Korneyev.
Nevertheless, Igor took part in several significant matches and even scored a goal against PSG in the quarterfinal of the Champions League.
After the end of the 1994/1995 season, Igor Korneev could not agree on the terms of the new contract with Barcelona and left the team.
The next forward club was the Dutch “Heerenveen”, for which he spent two seasons. The confident game of the Russian became the reason for his invitation to one of the strongest clubs in the country - Rotterdam-based Feyenoord. Initially, Igor had a strong place in the team, but then he had to wage a serious fight with the recruit of “Feyenoord” Julio Cruz.
Nevertheless, in the five years spent in Rotterdam, Korneev became the champion of the country, and in the 2001/2002 season with the team won the UEFA Cup.
He ended his active player career as a former soldier in the humble Dutch club NAC. However, Korneev did not finish football, but went to study to be a coach. For several years he worked as a children's trainer in the Feyenord system, and after the Russian team was headed by a Dutch expert, as an expert in the Dutch language and mentality, he was invited to become an assistant to the head coach.
After four years of work at this place, there were wanderings in various Russian clubs,where Igor served as sports director. Not so long ago, the contract with Moscow “Locomotive” was terminated, in which he worked for only six months.
Personal life of a football player Igor Korneev
The former player of “Barcelona” and “Feyenoord” is always open for journalists, he is happy to tell about all the intricacies of football, his sports biography.However, the topic of private life for him is a strict taboo, and he does not like to spread about his family life.
It is known that Igor Korneev was married twice. From both marriages he left sons - Hector and Jordan, both of them live in Barcelona. This is due to the fact that the former wife of football player Igor Korneev was engaged in business in Spain and therefore did not follow him to Holland when he began to play in “Heerenveen”.
Igor himself lives in Moscow, but often visits Barcelona with his girlfriend Yulia.