The Brazilian striker Hulk, who will become a free agent in December, exclusively told us about the options for continuing his career, named Sergei Semak the main creator of Zenit’s championship, conveyed his regards to Alexander Anyukov and told us about the situation with the coronavirus in China.
“Semak’s great merit in the Zenit championships”
Zenit won the Russian championship for the second time in a row, and even took the Cup. At the same time, not everyone likes what kind of football the team is showing. Did you manage to watch the matches of Petersburgers this season?
I think Sergei Semak did an excellent job. He is a very smart coach, if you remember, we once played together with him. Even then, he was a leader, leading the team. Semak is a real fighter. I am sure that as a coach he treats every match in exactly the same way: he fights for the result, demands that his players show their best football, looks for new tactical moves. I think that in the last two championships of “Zenith” the great merit is Semak.
As for the football shown by the team, I cannot express my opinion, since I have not watched the Russian championship this season. But not always the one who plays the most interesting football wins. The most important thing is the result. Of course, beautiful football is great. I have no doubt that Semak is working to make Zenit play more interesting.
Can you say that Zenit will become the best team in Russia for a long time?
Hope! I love and respect Zenit very much, I will be ill for this to happen. I don’t know what state the other top Russian clubs are in, I think that they will continue to compete and will strengthen by the coming season. After all, there are many grandees in your championship. But hopefully Zenit will dominate and win titles every year.
Last year you said that Semak will become a top coach. Do you think it will be known in Europe?
I said so because I know him well. Semak has everything to become a top coach, he deserves it. The two-time champion is already a good start. One day Semak will become a well-known specialist outside of Russia.
“Malcolm will succeed with Zenit
You are in contact with Douglas Santos. He himself said that he tells you club news. Which one was the last?
Yes, I often communicate with him and I am glad that Douglas has adapted so quickly to Russian football. Zenit hit the mark when they signed it. Douglas and I could play together for Zenit, it is a pity that this did not happen. What news is he telling me? About how he lives in Russia, what is happening in the team, and sometimes we talk about matches.
Imagine the last time I sent a big hello from Anyukov! And now I say hello to him. Once Sasha helped me a lot at Zenit, we have always had a good relationship with him. I will pass a message through you: “Anyuk! When I am in Russia, I will definitely see you! ”
What is your opinion on compatriots Malcolm and Santos at Zenit?
Two great acquisitions! Malcolm, despite his age, is already an experienced football player, he knows how to create a moment through individual actions. I really like his football, I am sure that Malcolm will achieve great success with the team. And Santos defends well, attacks, perhaps even better. He is still young, he has good speed. Zenit got it right with these transfers.
By the way, do not plan to visit St. Petersburg in the near future?
Not yet, although I really love this city. But many borders are closed, it is not clear when we will be able to travel again. That’s when I finish my career … Well, or in 10-15 years I will definitely come, when I become an idol of youth, I will walk along the streets, – laughs the Hulk. – I really like Russia, I was happy here.
“I’m not choosing a club because of the high salary principle”
In winter, Zenit fans made the team of the decade. You are, of course, present there. You were also included in the Premier League team of the decade. Have you heard about this?
I didn’t know that I was among the best! Thanks to Zenit fans, I miss them, they have always supported me. The fans at the club are cool, my most vivid memory is how guys at minus ten and without shirts, without stopping for a second, support the team. This can only be done if you really love your club. Thank you for choosing me for the Zenit team of the decade and the Russian Championship. I will always root for Russian football and for Zenit’s success in the first place.
What about your future? Is it possible to return to Zenit?
I really do not sign a new contract, and since December I am becoming a free agent. But I have not yet agreed on a contract with any club, as I receive a huge number of offers. While exploring options, I think which one will be best for me. We did not communicate with Zenit on this topic. A lot of clubs are now in touch with my representative.
That is, you can still continue your career at Zenit?
Who knows … If the club shows interest and wants to talk, no problem! If, suddenly, I return to Zenit again, so be it. I felt at home there. The same can be said about Porto – these clubs are dear to me. So the option with Zenit would be interesting. But until I have made a decision, I choose the best continuation of my career in general, and not according to the principle of who will offer a large salary.