Zenit captain Artem Dzyuba says he is “grateful” for those who supported him after the weekend’s release of an intimate video went viral, causing him to be dropped by Russia and abused by his own fans .
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Dzyuba became public enemy number one overnight when a clip of him masturbating topless on a bed was shared on Russian social media, resulting in his elimination from the national team and robbing him of his captain at Zenit St. Petersburg has been.
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The Moscow-born striker, 32, found himself in even hotter water after missing a 1-0 penalty against Krasnodar on Sunday. However, in the second half he fired his team to score a 3-1 comeback win and gestured wildly to fans during his celebration.
Zenit’s Ultras group “Landscrona” could be heard directing homophobic chants at the striker and singing derogatory songs, including one called “Artem Dzyuba Jerks If He Wills”.
After the game, the player admitted it wasn’t the easiest game of his career and that he almost cried on the way home from the game, but thanked his followers for standing by his side.
“We congratulate everyone on a very important win. It wasn’t the easiest game of my career. On the way home I could hardly hold back my emotions in the car,” said Dzyuba, who has played for the St. Petersburg Club since 2015, said.
“But I want to say next that I am not perfect, like everyone else. I make mistakes. Unfortunately, we are all sinners. I can only blame myself.”
“At moments like this, when practically everyone has their backs on you, I am incredibly grateful to the people who are with me and who showed me support during a difficult moment, my friends and loved ones. It is at such moments that you find out who is yours Friends are are.
“Even people I don’t know supported me, people in the stadium who partied wildly (when I scored). Thank you all, I’m so grateful, I’ll never forget that you were with me.”
“I’m not perfect and never relied on it. On the whole, I hope that I can live my life well and be a good person no matter what. Nobody has ever shown up and made no mistake. Thank you everyone The famous faces who supported me, I’m really grateful to you.
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“I try to control myself so as not to be a show-off. That’s not my point. Especially thanks to my team-mates, we have teamed up and shown everyone that we really are a team.
“Thank you so much to the world for these lessons, which are very painful and hard for me, but it’s my sole fault. I will try my best not to break although it is extremely difficult today. Take care, Goodbye. “
Dzyuba received support from many quarters, including ex-presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who compared the brouhaha around the video with the attitude of Soviet Russians towards sex.
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“The world has gone fucking crazy,” said the journalist and TV personality. “A person could be an asshole, but if they are gifted they should indulge in self-actualization. Doesn’t they like how they do things? Don’t live with them. Or is it not sex in the USSR?”
However, Landscrona has essentially turned down the player, accusing him of “narcissism” and refusing to move on his apparent demeanor during the game.
“We see Dzyuba’s behavior as narcissism and disregard for Zenit’s name,” the group said in a statement released Monday.