Roman Shirokov is rumoured to move to Spartak Moscow after an alleged conflict with Luciano Spalletti in a Supercup game against Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk.
According to Sovetsky Sport, Shirokov blamed the head coach of Zenit St. Petersburg for the crisis in the team and flew to Moscow the next day.
The official reason for the departure is said to be the midfielder’s heel injury.
However, the rumours of tension between the head coach and Shirokov have been circulating in the press for a long time now.
Previouslu, Spalletti fell out with another midfielder, Igor Denisov, who had to move to Anzhi Makhachkala, and later to Dynamo Moscow, after he demanded a pay rise.
It all started after Gazprom, Zenit’s main sponsor, splurged 100 million euro on two foreign players, Hulk and Axel Witsel. Hulk’s salary was reported to be higher than those of Zenit’s old-timers like Shirokov, Denisov and Kerzhakov. The situation inside the team deteriorated, with the club finishing second in Premier League last season.
Spalletti does not care about the record of Russian players, and may well oust most of the old guard from the team, says Alexander Bubnov, a columnist at Sovetsky Sport.
Among other players who are having a rough time now are midfielder Vladimir Bystrov who will play in Anzhi Makhachkala on loan, defender Alexander Anyukov, replaced by Igor Smolnikov, and goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeyev, replaced by Yury Lodygin.
Author: Mikhail Vesely