Growing up in a family split in their faith backgrounds, Alexander Samedov decided he would live his life in his own way.
Until trouble came and he was left searching for answers.
Samedov, who has represented Russia internationally on the U-21 and senior national teams and also played on several top Russian club teams, started having trouble in his football career and in his life. That’s when the questions started, first in his mind and then verbally.
“Going back to the very beginning, I grew up between two camps, so to speak,” Samedov shared in a television interview. “I didn’t really go in either direction. I lived my life in my own way. But a time came when I began to have problems in my career, in my life. I had already reached the age to be thinking about those things. And then I met my wife, Yulia. She was a believer; she went to church. Seeing my problems, she simply said to me, ‘Sasha, such and such…’ I came to church once, twice, and I understood. My life began to change.”
Though Samedov admitted to not reading much while growing up, he has loved reading the Bible since becoming a follower of Christ.
“I didn’t read much at all. I hardly had any free time,” Samedov says. “Because I went to a sports school, it didn’t really work out for me to combine academics and sports. I paid more attention to sports, and reading wasn’t the most important thing for me.”
But reading the Bible has been different. A welcome change from the arduous reading of lifeless words from the pages of a school textbook, or any book for that matter.
“I don’t look at reading the Bible like reading other books, because the Bible is something spiritual; it’s about faith,” he says. “The Bible teaches us. It provides direction for our lives.”
Part of that direction has guided him in his career. Samedov debuted with Spartak Moscow when he was 16 years old. Five years later he moved to Lokomotiv Moscow for four years before joining FC Moscow for two seasons. After succeeding there, he went to a bigger club, Dynamo Moscow, for three seasons while also making his first senior national team appearance.
That success landed him back at Lokomotiv the following season when he began excelling even more and became a regular starter and a fan favorite. He has since made 45 more national team appearances. Later, Samedov returned to Spartak Moscow.
The questions he had about life had been answered, and the way he handled success and failure had now changed.
He looked to God, who spoke to him and guided him as Samedov read the Bible. God has used Samedov’s wife to show him the right path.
“It worked out that way,” he says. “Through her, I made it.”