The conflict between Zenit Saint Petersburg and their key midfielder, Igor Denisov, seems to be settled, with the player apologising to the club and the fans.
Denisov initiated a meeting with Zenit management on Thursday and issued a statement on the club’s website afterwards.
“I needed time to realize what happened. My behavior was incorrect in that situation, and I was too emotional,” the 28-year-old wrote. “As a result I couldn’t help my teammates and fulfill the expectations of our loyal fans. I have a valid contract, and I have to and want to work for the club till the end of the contract.”
“I grew up and became a professional at Zenit, and I want to play for the good of my club," he concluded.
Denisov, who has been training with the reserves for over a month, is expected to reunite with his team mates in the main squad later in the day.
“I am glad common sense prevailed,” Anatoly Byshovets, the former Zenit coach, told Sportbox.ru. “The ability to subordinate personal interests to the team is a quality of all outstanding players. The situation with Denisov has once again shown that football is collective game. The return of the captain of the Russian nation team to Zenit will be beneficial for all – the club, the fans and football as a whole.”
The defensive midfielder refused to go out on the pitch until he got a pay raise to match the salaries of the club’s €80-million rookies, Hulk and Axel Witsel.
Despite lacking practice, the Zenit man was called up to the Russian national team – where he was made captain by coach Fabio Capello – and played the whole 90 minutes in the October games against Portugal and Azerbaijan.
Denisov has been with the St Pete side since 2002, playing an important role in all of the club’s recent successes, including three Premier League titles and 200/08 UEFA Cup triumph.