October 11, 2000 at the central stadium "Dynamo" in Moscow, the Russian national team in the match of the qualifying tournament of the 2002 World Cup met with the team of Luxembourg.
On the 61st minute of the meeting, with the score 2: 0 in favor of the Russians, there was a substitution in the visiting team. Tired Daniel Huss gave way to a spare. When the announcer across the stadium announced the name “Mikhail Zaritsky"- the stands exploded with a standing ovation.
The uninitiated looked at each other in bewilderment - where did the player with the Russian first and last name come from in the Luxembourg team? Descendant of emigrants?
The initiates, as the player himself later recalled, practiced their wit, trying to pin up the "star of Luxembourg football" from the tribune.
That match ended the way it should have ended - the Russians won 3-0. Zaritsky did not show anything supernatural on the field, although in Luxembourg he really was a real star. But with his talent, he could claim much more than the proud title of "the first guy in a European village."
In 1984, Zenit Leningrad won the title of USSR football champion for the first time in its history. The competition in the Soviet championship was crazy then. Judge for yourself - from 1981 to 1991 the tournament was won by Dynamo Kiev, Spartak Moscow, Dnipro, Dynamo Minsk, Zenit and CSKA. And the winners during this time managed to visit Vilnius "Zalgiris", Dynamo Tbilisi, Moscow "Dynamo", the capital "Torpedo".
Leningrad has long celebrated the victory of the coach's wards Pavel Sadyrin... Only at the top of Zenit did not stay the winners quite quickly quarreled among themselves and, in the end, the players "fused" Sadyrin.
A native of Leningrad, Misha Zaritsky was 11 years old in the year of Zenit's triumph. The beginner footballer of the Zhdanovets Sports School dreamed that he himself would one day win the same great victory. Zaritsky undoubtedly had talent. He was invited to the youth teams of the USSR, where the striker showed himself from the best side. In total, Mikhail played 97 matches in national teams of different ages, in which he scored 49 goals.
At the traditional memorial Valentina Granatkina in 1990, Mikhail Zaritsky shone in the USSR national team on a par with Igor Simutenkov. They chalked up 3 goals each, and if Simutenkov scored against the East Germans, then Zaritsky distinguished himself in the match with the German team.
Simutenkov four years later will be recognized as the best football player in the country, will play in Italy, in Spain, and even in the USA, together with the national team will go to the European Championship 1996. But in 1990 Zaritsky, with his well-placed blow, was considered even more promising than Simutenkov.
"There was a chronic lack of money in" Zenith "
It is interesting that they missed each other at Zenit - a pupil of the St. Petersburg school Simutenkov moved to Dynamo Moscow in 1990, and Zaritsky was just taken to the team. By that time, "Zenith" finished badly to the first league, but even there they looked neither shaky nor badly. The veterans played out, continuing to conflict with the leadership, and the youth were advised to wait in the wings.
Zaritsky, accustomed to playing a lot in the youth teams, did not want to wait. Moreover, they were not averse to taking him to the capital - CSKA and Spartak were interested in the talented striker. But in Leningrad they were told: "He will not go anywhere!" In Zenit, Zaritskiy played 10 matches, scoring one goal - in a lost, decisive game with Yaroslavl Shinnik.
Mikhail himself, years later, admitted that he was in a hurry with leaving Zenit. “But remember that time - the Soviet Union was rapidly collapsing, there was a chronic lack of money at Zenit,” he said in an interview with the Sport Day by Day portal, “Plus, I didn’t have a good relationship with Yuri Morozov - although I successfully played in the youth teams of the USSR, the coach did not see me in the first team of Zenit. Back then, Soviet football had its own terrible realities. For example, we gave most of the bonuses to coaches. Morozov explained that this money goes to work with the judges so that we are not “killed” on the road. Where they actually went - I do not know. But I know that only young players were forced to give bonuses. And I still remember that I gave Morozov 85 percent of the bonus amount - I kept only 15 percent for myself. "
Leningrad - Monchengladbach
Zaritsky's best friend and peer Denis Mashkarinhaving played the 1991 season at Zenit, he managed to move to CSKA. And in the fall of 1992 he took part in the legendary match in Spain, when the young army team defeated Barcelona 3: 2 at a party, knocking it out of the Champions League. Mashkarin, who played as a defender, scored one of the army team's goals in that meeting. Mashkarin, having spent a good career in Russia, now works as a scout in the selection service of CSKA.
Zaritsky, in 1991, chose a different path and left to play abroad. The young talent from the crumbling country was bought by Borussia Mönchengladbach. Whether I bought it or not is a separate question. Zaritsky himself said, according to the Germans, that “crazy money” was paid for him. But the Zenit guards say that Mikhail left through acquaintances in Germany, and almost in the status of a free agent. Now go figure out how it really was in the "dashing 90s".
It’s hard to believe in the story about “crazy money” also because Zaritsky is firmly settled in the backup team. Yes, Borussia was a strong team then, and Mikhail recently turned 18, but it is unlikely that an expensive player would have been marinated in a dead supply.
In the double, Zaritskiy proved himself well, he was promised a first appearance in the official match, but then the coach changed in the team, and the forward heard the familiar: "You're still young, wait!" In any case, this is what Zaritsky himself says.
Seduced by the Champions League
And then the player received an offer from the club "Abner" - the champion and winner of the Luxembourg Cup.
Luxembourg is called “the strongest among European football dwarfs”. In a small state, football is semi-amateur, and local teams surprise neighbors from other countries of the Old World only occasionally. Local strong players, as a rule, try to leave for the championship more seriously.
Zaritsky, he said, was tempted by the opportunity to play in the Champions League. The Luxembourgers did not deceive - he managed to play in the main tournament in Europe. Only in the 2nd qualifying round, "Abner" expectedly took off. And the Russian legionnaire had only to improve his skills in the Luxembourg championship. It turned out, by the way, not bad - in the very first year Zaritsky and his team won gold medals. And in the 1995/95 season, the native of Leningrad with 18 goals scored became the top scorer of the Luxemburg championship. True, his "Abner" "flew" to 6th place.
In fact, in the 1990s, many in Russia were ready to envy the fate of Mikhail. A small calm country, a well-fed measured life without bandits, political upheavals, terrorist attacks. Zaritsky met a local girl, married her, had children.
He practically had no chance of getting into the Russian national team. Firstly, the Internet was then underdeveloped, and it was not possible to assess the level of its game. It was considered too expensive a pleasure to send trainers to evaluate how Zaritsky mocks the natives-amateurs. In addition, at that time, the Russian national team had enough legionnaires from really strong European countries, so the top scorer of the Luxembourg championship was unnecessary.
Read, envy, I am a citizen ...
Mikhail, meanwhile, moved to the Sporting Merzig club, and in the 1996/97 season again became the top scorer of the championship (19 goals), and was also recognized as the best player in the Luxembourg championship. In the following season, Zaritskiy hit 29 goals, and again became the top scorer and the best player in Luxembourg.
And although the audience adored him, Zaritsky dreamed of trying himself on a more serious level. And moved to the German "Fortune". Contrary to the name, at the club from Cologne, he was again out of luck. The team was coached by a famous German coach Tony Schumacher, which Zaritsky did not see at the base. Mikhail calls Schumacher the “worst coach” of his career. The forward was loaned to the team of the second Greek division "Agius Nikolaus". There Zaritsky showed his best side and received an offer from the Netherlands, but the Germans did not come to an agreement with potential buyers.
As a result, the Russian again left for Sporting Merzig. As the spouse of a Luxembourg citizen, Zaritsky received local citizenship. And then the offer to play for the national team. Since there was no chance of playing for Russia, he accepted the offer. Having played a dozen matches for Luxembourg, including that very meeting with Russia, Mikhail was never able to score a single goal for his new homeland.
In the 2000/2001 season, Zaritsky scored 23 goals, and for the last time in his career he became the top scorer of the Luxembourg championship.
In 2001, the French "Strasbourg" invited the Russian, offering him solid conditions. But the fax with the offer came two days after Zaritsky was seriously injured in one of the matches. He underwent seven operations and tried hard to return. In the Luxembourg and German teams of the lower divisions, he entered the field as a player coach, but felt that he could no longer play as before. And in 2007, he finally gave up his football career.
Mikhail divorced his Luxembourgish wife and started a restaurant business in Germany. But he did not leave football, switching to coaching. In an interview, he admitted that he wants to try to work in Russia, but no offers from there are received.
At Zenit, Simutenkov is working as an assistant coach, with whom Zaritsky once led the USSR youth team to victory at the Granatkin Memorial. And the legend of Luxembourgish football from the banks of the Neva works with the clubs of the Grand Duchy. Zaritsky does not complain about fate. But it seems that he somehow missed the right turn in his career.