One of Russia’s most talented young footballers, Aleksandr Kokorin of Dynamo Moscow, says he is straight and photos with CSKA Moscow player Pavel Mamaev have been misinterpreted.
The rumors appeared after pictures of Kokorin and Mamaev’s vacation in Miami posted on Instagram, showing the young men hugging and even kissing.
One of the photos of the two players together was followed by Mamaev’s caption, saying: “I love him.”
“It was funny to learn that some people responded to our pictures by wondering: ‘What’s their sexual orientation?’ Kokorin told Sovetsky Sport newspaper. “I can explain: I have known Pasha for a very long time, since my school days. On the pitch we’ve always been rivals, but became friends in life. He's like a brother to me.”
The 21-year-old said that he has a girlfriend and that Mamaev is also in a relationship with a woman.
“It was them [the girlfriends], who took those pictures,” he added. “And we photographed them too. Only we decided not to upload their pictures.”
Kokorin is considered on of the most talented young footballers in Russia.
The forward has scored 11 goals in 20 appearances for Dynamo in the first half of the 2012/13 season.
Russian national team’s coach, Fabio Capello, sees him as a first choice, with Kokorin already winning 12 caps and a goal for his country.
His friend Mamaev, 24, has played 160 games (9 goals) in the Russian Premier League for Torpedo Moscow and CSKA.
The defensive midfielder has an appearance for Russia to his name, but with an apparent difficult character that seems to be hampering his career.