From outcast to icon and back again... Is the international career of one of Russia’s most colorful football heroes over?

From outcast to icon and again once more… Is the worldwide profession of one in every of Russia’s most colourful soccer heroes over?

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For good or unhealthy, Artem Dzyuba has turn out to be one of many faces of Russian soccer in recent times. However after his newest snub from the squad, the large ahead’s eventful profession for his nation has been solid into undignified uncertainty.

Locked in a straight race with Croatia for an computerized spot at subsequent yr’s World Cup in Qatar, Russia have two essential qualifiers arising this month.

First is a gathering with Cyprus in St. Petersburg on November 11, earlier than a visit to Cut up to face Croatia three days later.

Russia at the moment sit prime of their qualifying group on 19 factors from eight video games, with Croatia two factors adrift.

With Croatia touring to minnows Malta earlier than taking up Russia, the ultimate group-stage assembly in Cut up is prone to be decisive within the tussle for prime spot and a assured ticket to Qatar.

The second-placed group should navigate the perils of the playoffs in March. 

One man not referred to as on to assist the Russian effort is Dzyuba.

Supervisor Valeri Karpin has left the Zenit St. Petersburg ahead out of his squad, the ultimate model of which was revealed on Monday.

That’s regardless of Dzyuba scoring seven objectives in 13 video games within the Russian Premier League this season, a tally which places him joint second amongst his countrymen, behind solely 11-goal breakout star Gamid Agalarov.

Final Friday, Dzyuba was heading in the right direction as an alternative in a 4-1 win in a top-of-the-table assembly with Dynamo Moscow – a purpose which made him the outright main scorer within the historical past of the league.

Even at 33, Dzyuba continues to supply the threats for which he has turn out to be most famous: a goal man who can maintain up the ball and convey teammates into play, however greater than that, a goalscorer who’s surprisingly deft contemplating his 6ft 4in body.

Dzyuba’s Russian Premier League file was not the one one he had in his sights at first of this season.

After scoring in Russia’s crushing 4-1 defeat to Denmark on the European Championships in the course of the summer season, Dzyuba moved joint-top of his nation’s all-time scoring charts, alongside former teammate Aleksandr Kerzhakov on 30 objectives.

Many would have backed Dzyuba to go on and declare that file outright.

Because it seems, the ill-fated sport in opposition to Denmark in Copenhagen was the final time we noticed Dzyuba in motion for his nation.

He has missed all 5 of Russia’s ensuing World Cup qualifiers, all of which have been presided over by Karpin after he succeed Stanislav Cherchesov within the wake of the Euro 2020 embarrassment.

Cherchesov and Dzyuba’s destiny had appeared intrinsically linked ever since Cherchesov recalled Dzyuba from exile forward of the 2018 World Cup.

Having spent the earlier two years within the worldwide wilderness, Dzyuba returned with a vengeance, being an integral a part of Russia’s unlikely run to the World Cup quarter-finals – scoring 3 times alongside the way in which earlier than the penalty shootout agony in opposition to Croatia.

‘Dzyubamania’ swept Russia and the large ahead was propelled to nationwide hero standing, additionally being elevated to nationwide group captain by Cherchesov.

However issues have since gone bitter.

A leaked video exhibiting Dzyuba masturbating made undesirable nationwide headlines final November, with President Vladimir Putin even being quizzed on it.

Dzyuba was dropped from the nationwide group by Cherchesov, ostensibly to offer him time and area to recuperate from the scandal, however later returned and even saved the captain’s armband.



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Nonetheless, Russia’s woeful exhibiting on the Euros in the summertime – the place they completed backside of a bunch containing Belgium, Finland and Denmark – spelled the tip for Dzyuba’s ally Cherchesov.

Against this, the arrival of Karpin instantly appeared to sign uncertainty for Dzyuba.

The pair are identified for a tetchy relationship from their time at Spartak Moscow, the place Dzyuba emerged from the youth ranks and Karpin – as a former Spartak participant – took his first steps in administration.

Tensions included an notorious row over claims that Dzyuba stole a teammate’s pockets, and whereas the large ahead nonetheless managed 17 objectives and 15 assists in 73 matches underneath Karpin, their relationship remained strained even after each had moved on from the membership.

Then at Zenit, Dzyuba is even rumored to have virtually acquired right into a scrap with Karpin in 2017 when the pair crossed paths on the glitzy Ritz Carlton lodge in Moscow.

Tales like that naturally raised questions on what the long run had in retailer for Dzyuba when Karpin was named as Cherchesov’s substitute in July.  

Certain sufficient, following a sluggish begin to the season at membership stage the place he was out and in of the Zenit beginning XI, Dzyuba additionally discovered himself out of Karpin’s first Russia squad, though the pair had been stated to have held constructive talks about burying the hatchet.

Karpin appeared to supply an olive department by being able to convey Dzyuba again in for the matches in opposition to Slovakia and Slovenia final month, just for Dzyuba to say no, claiming he was nonetheless struggling to succeed in full type and health.

The truth that Dzyuba had simply scored twice in a 3-1 win for Zenit in opposition to Rubin Kazan naturally raised various eyebrows.



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Quick ahead to Karpin’s newest squad for the crunch November qualifiers, and there’s no room for Dzyuba once more.

Explaining the choice, the 52-year-old Russia boss stated this week: “The choice with Dzyuba wasn’t thought of.

“Final time we hoped that he’d assist us. He stated he wasn’t prepared. Subsequently, we didn’t take into account it now.”

In an indication of the pettiness of the state of affairs, Dzyuba has apparently ‘unfollowed’ the Russian nationwide group account on Instagram.

“It makes no distinction to me that he unsubscribed,” stated Karpin. “Ask him when he’ll signal again.”

As issues stand, Karpin is banking on oft-maligned CSKA Moscow ahead Anton Zabolotny to do an analogous job to Dzyuba for him, whereas Lokomotiv Moscow ahead Fedor Smolov continues to search out favor.

Youthful abilities are being blooded within the group corresponding to Dynamo Moscow’s precocious attacking midfielder Arsen Zakharyan.

As for Dzyuba, his finest hope of returning to the set-up might effectively be if Russia fail of their World Cup bid.

Karpin has solely been handed a short-term deal which runs till after the playoffs subsequent March. Attain the World Cup – both mechanically or by way of the playoff route – and Karpin will likely be backed to remain on in his job.

So long as Karpin is round, it may be assumed Dzyuba would have his work minimize out to search out his manner again into consideration, primarily based on the present state of relations. 

Each males are considered as uncompromising, typically troublesome characters who’re unwilling to again down; that has made issues prickly prior to now, and appears as if it’s going to proceed to take action.

In speedy phrases, the upshot is that Russia’s try to succeed in the 2022 World Cup will likely be and not using a participant who was their talisman not so way back.

And may they reach making it to Qatar, you wouldn’t rely on Artem Dzyuba being there with them.

By Liam Tyler 

The statements, views and opinions expressed on this column are solely these of the creator and don’t essentially signify these of RT.

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