Despite all the criticism, Andrey Arshavin has kept the captain’s armband in the Russian national team under new coach, Fabio Capello.
“I think people should always be given a chance to comeback and be the best again,” Capello told Sportbox.ru. “The upcoming match against Ivory Coast will be very important for him [Arshavin]. Criticism is necessary to make a person develop, show off his abilities and prove his class in every part of the game.”
Arshavin was glad to hold on to his captaincy and promised to work hard not to let the coach down.
“Fabio said he wants his captain to be an example to all – both on and off the pitch. I’ll do my best to match the description,” Arshavin stressed.
Meanwhile, the Russian Football Union’s honorary president and former FIFA vice-president, Vyacheslav Koloskov, believes the armband is worn by the wrong guy.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Arshavin isn’t the face of the national squad,” he said. “He’s not the captain. The captain has to inspire the team, and not walk on the pitch with his head down like it happened with Arshavin in friendly games. The captain needs to have character. While Arshavin has none.”
Arshavin has been Russia’s first choice captain since June 2009, but recently there have been calls to strip him of the honor.
The 31-year-old has been severely criticized for lacking dedication on the pitch and disrespect towards the country’s fans.
"The fact that we haven’t met your expectations isn’t our problem. It's your problem,” Arshavin told the disappointed fans after Russia crashed out of Euro 2012 this summer.
The harsh statement cost the player his place at Zenit Saint Petersburg and an advertising deal with Russian gas major, Gazprom.
But his position in the national team, for which he hasn’t scored an official goal since 2009, remains firm.
The country’s squad are currently preparing for a friendly against Ivory Coast, which will take place in Moscow on August 15 and be Fabio Capello’s debut in charge of the team.