Russia veteran defender Sergey Ignashevich, who turns 39 later in July, deserves credit for his performance at the FIFA World Cup and his readiness to help the team despite his age, former Russia head coach Boris Ignatyev said.
Ignashevich originally retired from international football following UEFA Euro 2016 but was called up to the squad in May by Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov to replace injured Rubin Kazan defender Ruslan Kambolov, becoming the oldest player ever capped both for the USSR and Russia.
The defender started for the national team in all of their five World Cup matches this summer and played in Saturday's quarter-final against Croatia in Sochi, which the hosts lost 4-3 on penalties.
"We must give credit to Sergey's desire to help the team, to his courage... You see, he could have failed to perform at a good level due to his age, but he did not think about himself, he prepared, he thought about the team, about us [ Russia] performing at a decent level. I give him credit for his physical form, for his football intelligence," Ignatyev said.
Ignashevich announced his retirement from football after the quarter-final defeat and Russia's elimination from the tournament.
"It's a shame that he's leaving. Unfortunately, I can't see any adequate replacement [for him] at the moment," Ignatyev added.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off on June 14 and will continue until July 15, with the final set to be played at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.