Former Zenit footballer – about the offer from the blue-white-blue, Kokorin in Spartak and competition in the Russian championship.
“Zenith has not yet accepted the offer”
Danny, everyone is wondering if you are returning to Zenit.
I had a conversation with the general director of “Zenith” Alexander Medvedev a couple of months ago. Then I was offered a job in the structure of the club. I replied that I would give an answer in late August – early September. A few days ago we talked again; Zenit is still interested in cooperation. So I have the opportunity to return to the club.
So you accept the offer?
Let’s see, I have not decided yet: there is a proposal, now I am considering all its aspects. This week we will call Zenit CEO again.
So, in a few days, at most next week, everything will be decided?
Yes, that’s right.
If everything goes well, what will you do in the club? Work in the academy or with the first team?
The proposal itself is not yet very structured and specific. But this is work in the academy, I will probably become part of the management team, I will develop youth football. However, we have not yet discussed the details, we will decide what is best for all parties.
You will work in conjunction with Andrey Arshavin. This is a super duet!
Haha, he has already started working at the club, I think his range of work is about the same.
Will the sons move with you?
Yes, if I go to St. Petersburg, they will come with me and become part of the club. It’s one hundred percent.
“European trophies can be won with Russian players too”
Tell us what you have been doing since the end of your career. Did the Portuguese clubs invite you to their projects?
There were even offers to pursue a career. I studied them all carefully and decided that it would be better to spend more time with my family, to stay in Portugal. As for working in clubs, such an offer came only from Zenit.
You saw the team’s matches at the start of the season. A good start, but in the last two meetings – zero goals.
I think that the team is still in good shape, yes, not everything worked out in the last matches. But these are just two games. Do not forget that Zenit had a great season, became a champion and just recently won the Super Cup. Now the meetings are going one after another, and the team has no time to recover, and a pause would be useful with such a schedule. But considering the line-up of Zenit, I think it will become the champion again.
Do you think St. Petersburg residents have the best team in terms of the quality of their players?
Yes, these players are capable of playing in any club in Europe.
What do you think about the new limit on legionnaires in Russia?
If these eight foreigners are really high level, then they will raise the level of the championship. Such players are always welcome. In addition, as I understand it, they want to give more chances to their pupils in Russia, this is also important. Although in any other top championship there are no such restrictions.
This limit is not very good for Russian football. After all, then you will not be able to play successfully in European competitions.
Not really. Remember what Zenit’s roster was when we took European trophies: there were more Russians, almost everyone played for the national team. In general, if a player is experienced and possesses the necessary qualities, you can win in Europe regardless of his nationality.
“Kokorin will show himself in” Spartacus “
Zenit did not renew the contract with Alexander Kokorin. Could he still help the club?
I’ve always said that Kokorin is a great striker. He showed himself great in Sochi, scored goals, and made a result. If I had stayed at Zenit, I would definitely have helped with goals and assists. But the club knows better what players are needed, how to build the squad for the new season.
Now Kokorin will play for a competitor, for Spartak. Will he make the team much stronger?
Yes, as I said, Sasha can become an important player in any club. I think he will show himself in Spartak, will make a difference and bring results.
In Portugal, Benfica is now spending huge sums to successfully compete in the Champions League. Don’t you think that Zenit still needs to invest in order not to repeat last year’s failure?
Quick success doesn’t always come with money. Yes, Benfica have invested heavily this season with the European competition in mind. Buying quality footballers is, of course, necessary to compete with teams from the best European leagues. If you manage to improve with such a player, this is always a plus.
I think Zenit also has the means to acquire great players. But I am not inside the club to understand whether this strengthening is necessary and what is the strategy for this season. In general, if the team needs to be strengthened for the Champions League, I think Zenit will do it.
At the beginning of the season it seemed that Zenit would again have no competitors in Russia. But now Spartak has come out on top, CSKA has strengthened its strength. In your opinion, will the championship become more competitive this year?
Clubs have strengthened well. But I don’t think Zenit can be afraid of something in Russia. This is the best team in the championship. I won’t say that by a wide margin, but the club has an excellent roster. As I said, I believe that Zenit will win the championship again. But the Russian league is indeed becoming more competitive. Spartak, Lokomotiv, CSKA – all of them have been claiming trophies in recent years. At the same time, a strong team can lose to almost any rival – there are no weak ones left in Russia, everywhere you have to make efforts to get three points.