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15th Mar 2022

Russia captain Artem Dzyuba rejects call-up to national team

Callum Boyle

Dzyuba has previously been called out for his silence on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s captain Artem Dzyuba has rejected a call-up to the national team for the upcoming international break as a result of his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Valeri Karpin, the head coach of the Russian national team, revealed during a press conference that Dzyuba had spoken to him over the weekend, where the forward signalled his intentions not to be called up.

“Sunday we spoke on the phone. [Dzyuba] apologised, asked not to be called up to camp due to difficult situation in Ukraine where many of his relatives live.

“We had a good talk, decided not to pick him, but will stay in touch and monitor his club performances.”

The 33-year-old, who plays up front for Zenit St. Petersburg, the side Russian president Vladimir Putin supports, has family based in Ukraine. Dzyuba’s father, Sergey is from Potlava in central Ukraine.

Dzyuba has been criticised in the past from the likes of Vitaly Mykolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko for his silence on the war in Ukraine.

Everton defender Mykolenko hit out at Dzyuba and his ‘s***head team-mates’ for failing to speak out. The forward did end up responding, claiming that he was ‘reluctant to comment’ on the invasion.

Dzyuba added that he ‘was not ashamed of being Russian’ and couldn’t understand why ‘sportsmen should suffer now.’

His response however was slammed by Manchester City’s Zinchenko, who insisted that ‘evil should be punished an all platforms.’

Russia will be playing for the first time since the war in Ukraine broke out. Both FIFA and UEFA have banned the country from all of their competitions, including the World Cup qualifying play-offs for a place at Qatar in November.

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