Zenit striker returns after sulk over Hulk

28 September 2012 01:48

Russian champions Zenit Saint Petersburg said on Friday their star striker Alexander Kerzhakov was back in the squad after rebelling over the big money signing of Brazilian Hulk from Porto.

Kerzhakov had backed a revolt led by fellow Zenit Russian national team member Igor Denisov demanding new wage conditions after the signing of Hulk on a reported salary of $6.5 million a year.

The management of the team, sponsored by state gas giant Gazprom, reacted furiously and consigned the pair to the youth team. Italian manager Luciano Spalletti weighed in by saying Kerzhakov thinks "only about himself".

But Zenit said in a statement that Kerzhakov had "had enough time to think things through" and approached Spalletti to ask for talks.

"Kerzhakov showed readiness to be at the disposal of the team and from now on he will continue work in the main squad," it said.

There was no further information about the future of Denisov, who is still consigned to the youth squad and has been linked to a string of English Premier League clubs.

Kerzhakov could return to top flight action on Saturday when fifth-placed Zenit try and reverse their bad run of results against third-placed Lokomotiv Moscow, who have been rejuvenated this season under Croatian manager Slaven Bilic.

Denisov has been named to play for the youth side at the weekend, in a sign his spat with management is far from over. Manchester United and Liverpool are among the sides reportedly keeping a keen eye on the midfielder's situation.

Source: AFP

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