Aleksey Gennadyevich Smertin (Russian: Алексе́й Генна́дьевич Сме́ртин; [ɐlʲɪˈksʲej ɡʲɪnˈnadʲɪvʲɪtɕ ˈsʲmʲertʲɪn]; born 1 May 1975) is a retired footballer. He was a fairly versatile player and was able to play in defence as well as midfield. He works as a deputy executive director with FC Dynamo Moscow.
He played for clubs in Russia, France and England. Smertin retired from professional football in 2008 after having his contract with Fulham terminated and discovering a new career in politics.
He was the captain of the Russian national team, and earned 55 caps from 1998 to 2006, representing the nation at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2004.
Born in Barnaul, Russian SFSR, Smertin has previously played for Dinamo Barnaul, Zarya Leninsk-Kuznetsky, Uralan Elista, Lokomotiv Moscow, and French team Girondins Bordeaux before moving on to Chelsea. His older brother Yevgeni Smertin played football professionally as well.
Claudio Ranieri brought Smertin to Chelsea from Bordeaux in August 2003 for £3.45m, before loaning him out to Portsmouth for the 2003–04 season. After some impressive performances at Fratton Park, most notably in Pompey's 1–0 victory over Manchester United, Smertin returned to London. However, Ranieri had now been succeeded by José Mourinho, who had made his own midfield signing in compatriot Tiago Mendes, adding to a midfield that already boasted Frank Lampard, Claude Makélélé, Geremi, and Scott Parker. Smertin only played a bit-part role for the team in 2004–05 as Chelsea won the title, but made enough appearances to earn a medal (16 in total). He did however score his first and only Chelsea goal this season, in the 3–1 Champions League win over Porto.
He was ultimately deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge and was loaned out to Charlton Athletic for the 2005–06 season. At Charlton, he was a starter and had some impressive performances. In March 2006, he was transferred to Dynamo Moscow, for a fee of £1 million.
Smertin played a total of 22 games for Dynamo Moscow before being transfer listed, alongside several other newly signed players, such as Maniche, Francisco Lima, Costinha and Giourkas Seitaridis in Andrey Kobelev's massive attempt at rebuilding the team for the new season.
After Smertin's release from Dynamo Moscow, he returned to England, signing for Fulham on a two and a half year deal that would see him remain at the club until the summer of 2009. He started most of the opening games of the 2007–08 season but the arrival of fellow-midfielder Danny Murphy on transfer deadline day restricted his playing opportunities. In addition, he suffered from several injury problems. When fit, Simon Davies and Danny Murphy were often preferred as the midfield pairing. On 30 August 2008, Fulham manager Roy Hodgson informed Smertin that he was free to leave the club. The following day the club cancelled his contract with immediate effect.
Smertin made his debut for Russia in 1998 in a 1–0 defeat against Iceland. He was capped 55 times for Russia, and was selected for the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004. He was made captain in June 2004, and was succeeded in that role by Andrey Arshavin.Lokomotiv Moscow
Russian Cup: 2000
Coupe de la Ligue: 2002
Premier League: 2004-05
Russian Footballer of the Year, awarded by Futbol and Sport-Express (1999)
5th in Russian All Time Appearances
Smertin is married to fellow Siberian Larisa, and also has a son. After failing to find a new club after leaving Fulham, Smertin turned his hand to politics back home in Russia. In March 2009, he was elected as an MP in the Altai region of Russia.
In July 2015, Smertin was an assistant at the draw for 2018 World Cup qualification in St Petersburg.
On 21 February 2017 he was named Russian Football Union anti-racism and discrimination inspector ahead of the 2018 World Cup.