Before attracting the attention of ambitious club Krasnodar, Yuri Gazinsky spent six years in the lower leagues, moving around the Russian far east, where he was born. He started out playing in attack, but began to truly flourish when he dropped back into defensive midfield.

Gazinsky received his first call-up to the Russian national team in September 2014. After that, he was periodically named in Fabio Capello’s and Leonid Slutsky’s squads, without either coach giving him a proper chance to prove his worth. Stanislav Cherchesov, on the other hand, turned to him in his first game as coach, sending him on as a substitute during a goalless draw against Turkey. Cherchesov has continued to back the midfielder, despite a fairly inconsistent season for Krasnodar in 2016/17. Gazinsky’s best qualities are his passing range, positional sense, eye for an interception and ability to limit opponents’ options on the ball.