Ex CSKA Moscow striker says Yuri Zhirkov was unhappy when Chelsea made an offer for him - The Chelsea Chronicle

Ex CSKA Moscow striker says Yuri Zhirkov was unhappy when Chelsea made an offer for him

Croatia assistant manager Ivica Olic shared a story about how his former teammate Yuri Zhirkov was initially hesitant to join Chelsea.

There have not been many Russian players in the Premier League or any top leagues outside Russia.

Former Arsenal star Andre Arshavin and ex-Tottenham Hotspur striker Roman Pavlyuchenko are probably the two biggest Russian footballers in the Premier League in the 2000s.

While at Chelsea, Zhirkov, Alexei Smertin, and Dmitri Kharine are the only three Russian players to ever don the blue shirts.

And according to Olic who spent four years at CSKA Moscow, the lack of Russian talents abroad had something to do with the players’ mentality as he told a story about Zhirkov’s response to Chelsea’s interest as an example.

(Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

He told 24Sata: “I remember when Yuri Zhirkov as a player of CSKA Moscow received an offer from Chelsea, everyone was happy except him.

“And then he tells everyone he doesn’t want to go to England.

“This is the mentality of the players in Russia, so I’m not at all surprised that Akinfeev, the Berezutsky brothers or Ignashevich stayed at CSKA all their careers, they didn’t go anywhere.”

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Zhirkov eventually joined Chelsea in 2009 but returned to Russia after just two seasons at Stamford Bridge to join Anzhi Makhachkala.

It was a brief spell but the Russian played an important back-up left-back role when Ashley Cole had a three-month injury spell back in 2010.

Gerry is a Chelsea supporter who has more than five years of experience in online publishing. He started out writing for Chelsea fan blogs during his high school years, before writing for several local sport news outlets. After graduating in NCTJ-accredited sports journalism MA at the University of Sunderland, he has worked as a freelance writer for The Chelsea Chronicle since 2020. He is a big fan of football statistics and strongly believes that sooner or later, the xG Gods always catch up. He is also a proud member of Michael Ballack fan club.