“I’ve shot, I’m shooting, and I’ll keep on shooting” – slogan of the Tsar of Russian strikers, Aleksandr Kerzhakov.
Full name: Aleksandr Anatolyevich Kerzhakov
Club: Zenit St. Petersburg
Caps for Russia: 58
Goals for Russia: 17
The first thing Dick Advocaat did when he took charge of Zenit in 2006 was to buy expensive Turkish forward, Fatih Tekke, who replaced Kerzhakov in the starting lineup.
The beloved St Pete duo of Arshy and Kerzhy stopped existing and the Russian international packed his bags and went to Spain.
The Tsar was getting enough of time on the pitch at Sevilla and scored goals, even against Barcelona.
At half time in that match he received a compliment from the game’s biggest star at that moment.
“You sure know how to play football,” Ronaldinho told Kerzhakov in the tunnel.
He won the UEFA Cup with the Spanish team, forcing a red card for an opposing player in the final, but the change of coach saw his career taking a downturn.
After tiring of sitting on the bench, Kerzhakov returned to Russia. He was unwanted in Zenit and had to prove his class with Dynamo Moscow before making his way back to the home town of St. Petersburg in 2010.
It was the year when Advocaat became Russia’s coach and this time the Dutchman had no intention of ignoring the talent of one of the country’s top attackers.
Kerzhakov played five games in Euro 2012 qualifying – it would have been more if not for the injuries – and repaid the coach’s trust by scoring the winner in a difficult clash away in Macedonia.
The 29-year-old has always been the type of striker who is very hungry for goals, trying to find the target from every position possible.
But cooperation with Zenit’s coach Luciano Spalletti added new colors to his game. He became more of team player, and even if he does not get a goal now, he still puts the rivaling defense under serious pressure or comes up with an assist.
Kerzhakov top scored for Zenit in their golden season with 16 goals in the Premier League and plans to keep on shooting at Euro 2012.
“The group [of the Czech Republic, Greece and co-hosts Poland] is just what the fans wanted,” the striker told Gazeta.ru. “And the players wanted a group from which they’ll qualify for the playoffs. Of course, now everybody would say that the teams are equal, but only Euro 2012 will tell whether it’s true or not.”
By the way, Aleksandr still has a lot to prove after being left out of Guus Hiddink’s bronze medal squad for Euro 2008, and that despite netting the most goals in the qualifiers.
Dmitry Gorshkov, RT
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