A regular in the Russia midfield during the first phase of his career at FC Lokomotiv Moskva, Marat Izmailov had faded from the international scene following a move to Sporting Clube de Portugal but earned a surprise recall for UEFA EURO 2012. An incisive attacking midfielder, he possesses a powerful long-range shot.
• Born in Moscow, he sprang to prominence as an 18-year-old during the 2001 Premier-Liga season with Lokomotiv and was ever-present in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League group stage, having scored on his European debut, a qualifying tie against FC Tirol Innsbruck.
• Won two Russian titles over the next three seasons with Lokomotiv and appeared in two further UEFA Champions League campaigns as he established himself in the Russian national side.
• First capped at 18 in a Moscow friendly against Greece on 15 August 2001, he travelled to the 2002 FIFA World Cup and made two starts – against Tunisia and co-hosts Japan; also started twice at UEFA EURO 2004 – against Spain and hosts Portugal – but, as in Japan, was unable to help the team beyond the group stage.
• Scored his first two international goals in 2006 World Cup qualifiers against Estonia and Luxembourg but lost his place with both Lokomotiv and Russia and joined Sporting on a season-long loan in 2007/08, returning to the UEFA Champions League and winning the Portuguese Cup.
• Joined Sporting permanently in 2008 but struggled with persistent injuries over the next four years, appearing in only 51 league games; however, his impressive contribution to the club's run to the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League semi-finals restored him to the national side after an absence of more than five years.
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