Football Russia’s Dzyuba denies not being nominated because of events in Ukraine

FILE PHOTO: Russia's President Putin poses with Russia's national soccer team player Dzyuba at the Kremlin in Moscow
FILE PHOTO: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) poses with Russia’s national soccer team player Artem Dzyuba at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia July 28, 2018. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

March 15, 2022

(Reuters) – Artem Dzyuba, one of Russia’s all-time top scorers, on Tuesday denied he had asked the team coach not to bring him to the national team because of the conflict in Ukraine.

“I didn’t join the Russian national team because of political problems. It’s about family circumstances, but I don’t want to go into details,” he was quoted as saying by the Sport-Express news agency.

“It seems to me that there was a misunderstanding, (coach) Valery Georgievich (Karpin) misunderstood me or his words were misinterpreted.”

Karpin said in an interview that he spoke to the 33-year-old Zenit St. Petersburg forward over the weekend about being selected for a training camp in Moscow.

Russia has been banned from international football by UEFA and FIFA over events in Ukraine and has been kicked out of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar later that year.

“He assured me… he really wants to play for the national team,” Karpin was quoted as saying in an interview published on the Football Union of Russia’s website.

“But now, due to the difficult situation in Ukraine, where he has many relatives, he apologized and asked not to be called up to this camp for family reasons,” Karpin said.

Dzyuba was called into the squad late when Russia hosted the 2018 World Cup and became a lucky charm during the team’s surprise quarter-finals.

He has since captained the national team and has equaled Aleksandr Kerzhakov as Russia’s record goalscorer, but he has largely fallen out of favor since Karpin’s appointment last July.

He took to Instagram this month to hit back at Ukrainian footballers who have criticized him and other Russian players for remaining silent about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In that post, Dzyuba said he was against discrimination based on nationality and couldn’t understand why Russian athletes had to suffer.

(Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Ed Osmond) Football Russia’s Dzyuba denies not being nominated because of events in Ukraine


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