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Russia Captain Rejects 'Call Up' Weeks After Defiantly Saying He's Proud To Be Russian

Ryan Sidle

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Russia Captain Rejects 'Call Up' Weeks After Defiantly Saying He's Proud To Be Russian

Russia captain Artem Dzyuba has rejected a call up for the national football team's get together later this month, just weeks after being called out for saying he was 'proud' to be Russian.

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Dzyuba was called out by the Premier League's Ukrainian stars Vitaliy Mykolenko and Andriy Yarmolenko for failing to speak out against the invasion.

Yarmolenko even referenced the Russian captain's leaked sex tape, saying, "I know some of you like to show your balls on camera but now the time’s come to show your balls in real life."

Dzyuba then made a statement, saying he was 'against war,' but also said that he was 'proud to be Russian,' and said he 'didn't understand why athletes should suffer.'

Now though the Zenit Saint Petersburg striker has refused to be part of a camp for the national team later this month, due to having relatives in Ukraine.

"Due to the difficult situation in Ukraine, where he has many relatives, he apologised and asked not to call him up for this training camp," Russia boss Valeri Karpin confirmed.

Dzyuba playing for Russia during Euro 2020. Image: PA Images
Dzyuba playing for Russia during Euro 2020. Image: PA Images

Karpin's side were initially meant to be involved in the World Cup qualifying play-offs later this month, taking on Poland on March 24th.

Poland, along with Sweden and Czech Republic, who both had the chance of meeting the winner in the next round, all refused to play the matches against Russia.

FIFA and UEFA eventually suspended them from taking part in the qualifiers, and all upcoming competitions for the near future, meaning they have no games to play.

Instead the national team are due to meet up for a training camp and play an intra squad friendly against the under 21s, though they'll be without their captain.

Karpin has a squad for the international window, despite no games. Image: PA Images
Karpin has a squad for the international window, despite no games. Image: PA Images

Following Dzyuba's initial statement, saying he 'didn't understand' why the war should impact on athletes, Manchester City star Zinchenko hit back the 33-year-old striker.

"Why do Ukrainian footballers call for football sanctions against the aggressor's country? Do we really want to deprive you of the opportunity to do your favorite thing? No!

"We use all methods to stop the aggressor country from its occupying ambitions. Evil must be punished in all areas that are accessible to society.

"We will knock on your doors with sanctions with even greater aggression than you do when you cross the border of our state with weapons. Stopping the occupation is the main and only goal of all our actions."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Zenit, Football World Cup, Russia, Ukraine

Ryan Sidle
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