Russia's Roman Shirokov Joins FC Krasnodar From Zenit
Published: March 3, 2014 (Issue # 1799)
Russia midfielder Roman Shirokov has joined FC Krasnodar on loan after reports of falling out with Zenit St. Petersburg coach Luciano Spalletti.
The 32-year-old player, who had a notoriously fractious relationship with Zenit fans, left the football team’s training camp in Israel last month amid speculation of a spat that the Italian denied existed.
"Krasnodar has agreed with Zenit on the terms of Roman Shirokov's move," a statement on Krasnodar's website said late Thursday. "The Russia midfielder will defend the colors of 'the citizens' (team nickname) until the end of the current season."
Shirokov was absent from the Zenit team that lost 4-2 at home to Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.
Signs that Shirokov was unhappy at Zenit stretch back to last year, when it emerged he was yet to extend his contract beyond June.
A product of CSKA academy, Shirokov had already been linked with Moscow-based teams, but neither of them confirmed their interest in the player. Spartak coach Valery Karpin said he considered the transfer "impossible."
He has scored 43 goals in 198 games for Zenit since 2008, collecting two Russian titles and the UEFA Cup.
Shirokov has 41 caps with national team to his name and took over the Russia captaincy in October from Igor Denisov, a midfielder who left Zenit last season after a dispute with club management and now plays for Dynamo.