Former Everton midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has been drafted into the Russian army despite being over the stated age criteria for recruits.
According to reports on ria.ru, the 37-year-old received a summons, even though the current age limit to be recruited is said to be 35 years old - although the fact that he previously completed military service may have been a factor.
Bilyaletdinov won 46 caps for the Russian national team between 2005 and 2012, scoring six goals in that time, and helped the team reach the semi-final of Euro 2008. He joined Everton from Lokomotiv Moscow following that tournament and made more than 75 appearances for the Toffees.
Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation in Russia on 21 September to help with the struggling invasion of Ukraine, with defence minister Sergei Shoigu confirming the aim to call up 300,000 troops - consisting of those who have served in the army, have combat experience and the necessary specialisms for the armed forces.
And, given those criteria, Bilyaletdinov’s father Rinat Bilyaletdinov is convinced that his son has been incorrectly summoned.
“Diniyar really received a summons,” Bilyaletdinov Sr told ria.ru. “It’s hard to talk about emotions, because he didn’t serve, although he did military service, but it was specific, with a sports bias. That was 19 years ago. That is, yes, he took the oath, but served in the sports line.
“The law still says - to call people up to 35 years old, and he is 37, so there is some kind of inconsistency. Now it will be found out whether this agenda is correct or it was sent early. Anything can happen.
“If there was a general mobilisation, then there is no need to ask questions. In the meantime, the president has established a partial one, everything should be in accordance with the law.”
Bilyaletdinov last played professional football in 2018 for Lithuanian outfit FK Riteriai and is said to be currently coaching at Russian second-tier side FC Rodina-2 Moscow.