He might not be Europe's best-known forward, but FC Šiauliai's Arturas Rimkevičius is enjoying his time in the limelight after scoring 32 goals in 27 Lithuanian First Division matches to break a 56-year top-flight record and currently head the ESM Golden Shoe standings.
The diminutive 29-year-old striker hit six goals apiece against old club FK Tauras and FK Atlantas in May and September respectively, before smashing the 28-goal record set by Algimantas Lucinavičius in 1956 with a four-timer in a 7-2 home win against Tauras on 7 October. "An eye for goal is the most important thing," said Rimkevičius, who can still improve his haul with four games left in the campaign. "You have to be in the right place at the right time. For me it doesn't matter how you do it, it is just important that you score.
"I have probably finally matured as a player," continued the attacker, whose previous career high was registering 29 goals in 72 league outings for FBK Kaunas. "At the age of 28 or 29 you are not quite old but are very experienced. I've been putting away my chances more clinically this year. I am also fortunate to play with a really good midfield and have all my team-mates to help me."
Rimkevičius's goals are a hot topic in Lithuania, but despite earning his first international caps since June 2010 in an August friendly followed by three FIFA World Cup qualifying run-outs, he is keeping his feet on the ground. "It is very good to know the record stood for so long and I have set a new one," he said. "I don't feel like a star. I have always been a simple person and will remain so."
Rimkevičius also represented his country at Under-21 level, notably scoring the equaliser against a Spain side which included the likes of Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Ramos, Cesc Fàbregas and David Silva – yet he puts his upturn in fortunes down to playing futsal.
"While most other players were resting in winter, I went to play futsal to maintain my form," said Rimkevičius, who led the Lithuanian futsal league scoring chart on three occasions and has played futsal at international level. "Some sceptics said it hindered my game as it's different to the full-sided version but it really helped me develop technically."
Šiauliai are fifth in the First Division and out of title contention going into Saturday's home fixture against rock-bottom FK REO Vilnius, although silverware remains possible with a Lithuanian Cup fifth-round tie against FK Banga looming next week.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.