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Igor Vladimirovich Denisov (Russian: Игорь Владимирович Денисов; born 17 May 1984) is a former Russian association footballer who played as a midfielder.[1]

Igor Denisov
Loco-Spar18 (7) (cropped).jpg
Denisov with Lokomotiv Moscow in 2018
Personal information
Full name Igor Vladimirovich Denisov
Date of birth (1984-05-17) 17 May 1984 (age 35)
Place of birth Leningrad, RSFSR,
Soviet Union[1]
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)[1]
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Youth career
Turbostroitel St. Petersburg
Smena St. Petersburg
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2013 Zenit Saint Petersburg 254 (23)
2013 Anzhi Makhachkala 3 (0)
2013–2017 Dynamo Moscow 62 (1)
2016–2017Lokomotiv Moscow (loan) 23 (1)
2017–2019 Lokomotiv Moscow 44 (0)
Total 386 (25)
National team
2003–2006 Russia U21 16 (4)
2008–2016 Russia 54 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Denisov progressed through the youth ranks at Zenit and after making his debut for the senior team in 2002 has since played his entire club career for the St. Petersburg outfit up until his transfer to Anzhi in 2013.[2] He made his debut for Russia in 2008, going on to feature at Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup.[3] The midfield enforcer has never been shy of controversy, courting numerous arguments at the club and international level during his professional career.[3]

Club careerEdit

ZenitEdit

 
Igor Denisov warming up for Zenit.

Denisov was born in St. Petersburg and started his footballing career with Turbostroitel before going to Smena, the youth team of Zenit.[2] Denisov signed his first professional contract with Zenit,St. Petersburg's only professional team, after graduating school in 2002.[4] At the age of 18, Denisov made his debut for Zenit in a league match against CSKA Moscow in 2002.[5] He made his breakthrough with the club the following year, scoring twice in 19 appearances.[4]

Under Dutch manager Dick Advocaat, Denisov blossomed as a player, developing into an advanced midfield role behind Andrey Arshavin and Aleksandr Kerzhakov, becoming an influential member of the Zenit squad that won their first Russian Premier League title in 2007.[4][6] On 3 April 2008, Denisov scored Zenit's fourth goal in their 4–1 first leg defeat of Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup match at the BayArena.[7] Denisov's performances helped Zenit reach the final against Scottish side Rangers on 15 May, after defeating Bayern Munich 5–1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.[8] In the final, Denisov played the full ninety minutes and opened the scoring in the 72nd minute after being played in by winger Andrei Arshavin.[4] Zenit went on to win the match 2–0 and lift the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history.[9] In the resulting UEFA Super Cup, Denisov played the full ninety again, assisting Pavel Pogrebnyak's headed goal as Zenit upset English heavyweight Manchester United 2–1 on 29 August 2008.[10]

On 29 June 2010, Denisov extended his contract with Zenit for a further five years.[2] Six months later, on 22 December, Denisov was voted by the fans as the club's "Player of the Year", beating out the likes of playmaker Danny and goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev.[11]

On 27 October 2011, Denisov featured in his 300th competitive fixture for Zenit, in the 3–0 defeat of Volga, including 217 matches in the Premier League, 55 in European competition and 28 matches in domestic cup competitions.[12] Denisov finished as runner up behind Malafeev as the club's MVP for the 2011–12 campaign, playing 57 games (starting all of them) whilst scoring one goal and providing eight assists.[13] During the Russian Football Union awards ceremony on 26 May, Denisov was voted as the "Player of the Year" in the Russian Premier League and Zenit won five more club awards for 2011–12 including "Team of the Year."[14]

On 11 August 2012, Denisov provided two assists in Zenit's 5–0 defeat of Spartak Moscow.[15] On 3 September, Denisov was voted as Zenit's "Player of the Month" for August after playing all five league games and providing those two assists.[16] Three weeks later, Denisov was demoted to the reserve team for improper behavior according to the club.[17] Following more than a month with the youth side, Denisov was reinstated to the senior squad and began training with them again on 1 November.[18] He made his return to the first team a day later, coming on as a 58th-minute substitute for Viktor Fayzulin in Zenit's 2–1 defeat of FC Rostov.[19] Denisov's first full match since his return from exile with the youth team came on 6 November in a Champions League group game against RSC Anderlecht, playing the full ninety minutes in a 1–0 loss in Belgium.[20]

AnzhiEdit

Denisov announced his move to Russian Premier League club Anzhi Makhachkala for a fee of 15 million euros on 21 June 2013.[21]

Dynamo MoscowEdit

On 15 August 2013, Denisov moved along with fellow Anzhi players Yuriy Zhirkov and Aleksandr Kokorin to FC Dynamo for an undisclosed fee. Denisov played in only three matches for Anzhi before the cash-strapped club began to sell its players.

In April 2015, Denisov was put up for sale by Dynamo and told to train on his own for insulting head coach Stanislav Cherchesov.[22][23]

He returned to Dynamo's lineup in July 2015, after Cherchesov was dismissed as Dynamo's manager and replaced by Andrey Kobelev.

Lokomotiv MoscowEdit

On 31 August 2016, he moved on loan to FC Lokomotiv Moscow for the remainder of the 2016–17 season.[24] On 2 February 2017, he signed a permanent deal with Lokomotiv that started at the end of the season upon the expiration of his Dynamo contract.[25]

On 27 May 2019, he left Lokomotiv by mutual consent.[26] On 29 May 2019, he announced through his lawyers that he retired from playing.[27]

International careerEdit

Denisov first featured in the Russian national set up, representing the Under-19 side against Denmark in the second qualifying round for the 2003 UEFA U-19 European Championships.[28] He then went on to captain the Russia U-21 team. Denisov trained with Russia in 2005 but did not get into the team.[2]

After a good run of performances at the club level with Zenit, many sports journalists called for Denisov to be included in the squad for the European Championships in 2008, but he did not make the initial squad and later refused to be called up for the provisional 25-man squad of players after a number of injuries.[29] Denisov made his debut for Russia on 11 October 2008 in a FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifier against Germany, a 2–1 loss at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund.[4][30]

He was confirmed for the finalized UEFA Euro 2012 squad on 25 May 2012.[31] He featured in all three Group A matches, as Russia picked up 4 points but ultimately failed to qualify for the knockout stage on goal difference.[32]

On 7 September 2012, Denisov was appointed by new Russia manager Fabio Capello as the captain of the national team in the wake of Andrei Arshavin's absence.[33]

On 2 June 2014, he was included in Russia's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad.[34]

On 6 June 2016, Denisov was ruled out of Euro 2016 with a thigh injury.

ControversiesEdit

Throughout his career, Denisov has earned a reputation for poor behavior both at the club level with Zenit and at the international level with Russia. In the run up to the European Championships in 2008, Denisov was left out of the original 23-man squad by then manager Guus Hiddink;[35] Denisov was called into the squad after a number of injuries but took umbrage and refused to play as Russia reached the semi-finals losing to eventual champions Spain.[36]

In August 2010, he was involved in a road rage incident, where he fought a driving instructor after the learner driver in the instructor's car almost collided with Denisov's SUV. Denisov injured his foot in the incident and broke the instructor's nose. The instructor refused to press charges.[37]

In September 2010, Denisov was involved in a training ground bust up with coach Vladislav Radimov, the argument escalated from a call Radimov made in a practice game and reports claim that Denisov was readying to punch Radimov before teammates physically stopped him.[38] Two months later in a match against Spartak Moscow, Denisov verbally abused Spartak's manager Valery Karpin, subsequently leading to a brawl with both sets of players and a four match ban for the combative midfielder.[39]

On 22 September 2012, Denisov was left off the teamsheet for Zenit's 2–2 away draw with Krylya Sovetov. The following day, the club issued a statement that read, "The decision to send Igor Denisov to the youth team for an indefinite period... is connected to the fact that the player issued an ultimatum, refusing to take to the field against Krylya Sovetov after demanding a renegotiation of his contract."[40] According to the Zenit website, Denisov's current contract runs to 2015 and that he is one of the highest earners in all of the Russian Premier League.[41] Media speculation reported that this pay strike was a result of Zenit's overhaul in the transfer market, bringing in Axel Witsel and Hulk on big contracts and in combined deals worth over $130 million. Denisov replied in an interview with Sport Express, stating that his stand-off with club management was over "The proper organisation of the team. And respect for the Russian players which Zenit has always relied upon."[42] Two months after his protest, Denisov released a statement, telling the media that he was finished protesting over his pay strike and has apologised not only to the club but also to the fans, as he was wrong to walk out on the club.[43]

On 7 April 2015, he was removed from training with the main Dynamo Moscow squad and transfer-listed by the team for "interfering with the work of the head coach" Stanislav Cherchesov.[22]

 
Denisov, 7, representing Russia against Poland at the European Championships

In November 2015, he was again moved to Dynamo's reserves squad by the new manager Andrey Kobelev after Denisov demanded that the club management fire the club's doctor whom Denisov called incompetent.[44]

On 16 April 2018, he was fined 1 million rubles by his club Lokomotiv Moscow for insulting a doping control official during a test.[45]

Personal lifeEdit

Denisov and his wife Elena have four children: Viktoria, born in 2005, Igor, born in 2008, and twin sons who were born on 18 December 2011.[46] He owns two South African pitbulls and is known in Russia as being a very good chess player and for never giving interviews to reporters.[47]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of 5 May 2018
Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Zenit Saint Petersburg 2001 Russian Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0
2002 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2003 19 2 2 1 2[a] 0 23 3
2004 20 6 0 0 6 1 26 7
2005 20 5 5 0 7 0 32 5
2006 25 4 6 0 5 1 36 5
2007 25 3 4 0 3 0 32 3
2008 29 1 0 0 14 2 1[b] 0 44 3
2009 28 1 2 0 4 0 34 1
2010 24 0 3 0 8 1 35 1
2011–12 40 1 4 0 12 0 1[c] 0 57 1
2012–13 23 0 2 0 8 0 1[d] 0 34 0
Total 254 23 28 1 67 5 5 0 354 29
Anzhi 2013–14 Russian Premier League 3 0 3 0
Dynamo Moscow 24 1 1 0 25 1
2014–15 13 0 0 0 8 0 21 0
2015–16 23 0 2 0 25 0
2016–17 FNL 2 0 1 0 3 0
Total 62 1 4 0 8 0 0 0 74 1
Lokomotiv Moscow 2016–17 Russian Premier League 23 1 5 1 28 2
2017–18 27 0 1 0 10 1 1[e] 0 39 1
Total 50 1 6 1 10 1 1 0 67 3
Career total 369 25 38 2 85 6 6 0 496 33

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Two appearances in the Russian Premier League Cup
  2. ^ One appearance in the Russian Super Cup
  3. ^ One appearance in the Russian Super Cup
  4. ^ One appearance in the Russian Super Cup
  5. ^ One appearance in the Russian Super Cup

HonoursEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Igor Denisov Midfielder". Yahoo Sport. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d "Denisov extended his contract". Zenit FC. 29 July 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Russia squad guide: Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko lead the line for Advocaat". Daily Mail. 31 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Igor Denisov". UEFA. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Igor Denisov". Zenit Football Club. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010.
  6. ^ "2000s". Zenit Football Club. Archived from the original on 22 November 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Rampant Zenit floor Leverkusen". UEFA. 3 April 2008.
  8. ^ "Zenit shoot down Bayern to reach final". UEFA. 2 May 2008.
  9. ^ "Advocaat enjoys all time high". UEFA. 15 May 2008.
  10. ^ "Dynamic Zenit taste Super Cup glory". UEFA. 29 August 2008. Archived from the original on 1 November 2010.
  11. ^ "Igor Denisov is Zenit fans` player of the year!". Zenit Football Club. 22 December 2010.
  12. ^ ""Peter" congratulated Igor Denisov with three hundred of the match for the "Zenith"". Zenit FC. 27 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Malafeev voted Zenit`s MVP for the season!". Zenit Football Club. 18 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Russian Football Union awards Russia`s best". Zenit Football Club. 26 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Zenit 5–0 Spartak Moskva". UEFA. 11 August 2012.
  16. ^ "Igor Denisov voted Zenit player of the month for August". Zenit Football Club. 3 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Soccer-Demoted Denisov demands Zenit parity over wages". Reuters. 24 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Official statement by Igor Denisov". Zenit Football Club. 1 November 2012.
  19. ^ "Zenit 2 - 1 Rostov". ESPNFC. 2 November 2012.
  20. ^ "Mbokani keeps Anderlecht in hunt". ESPNFC. 6 November 2012.
  21. ^ "Anzhi Acquires Star Midfielder Igor Denisov". R Sport. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  22. ^ a b Игорь Денисов выставлен на трансфер. fcdynamo.ru/ (in Russian). FC Dynamo Moscow. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  23. ^ Станислав Черчесов: Игорь Денисов сказал, что не считает меня за тренера и человека. www.eurosport.ru/ (in Russian). Eurosport. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  24. ^ Игорь Денисов – в «Локомотиве» на правах аренды (in Russian). FC Dynamo Moscow. 31 August 2016.
  25. ^ Игорь Денисов подписал контракт с «Локо» (in Russian). FC Lokomotiv Moscow. 5 February 2017.
  26. ^ Игорь Денисов покидает «Локомотив» [Igor Denisov leaves Lokomotiv] (in Russian). FC Lokomotiv Moscow. 27 May 2019.
  27. ^ Игорь Денисов подтвердил, что завершил карьеру игрока [Igor Denisov confirms retirement from playing] (in Russian). Sport Express. 29 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Igor Denisov". UEFA. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  29. ^ http://en.uefa.com/uefaeuro2012/news/newsid=697586.html Denisov says no to EURO role
  30. ^ "Germany - Russia2:1 (2:0)". FIFA. 11 October 2008.
  31. ^ "Advocaat announced the finalized Euro Squad" (in Russian). 25 May 2012.
  32. ^ "Greece back in credit! Russian giants and hosts Poland are knocked out of Euro 2012". Daily Mail. 16 June 2012.
  33. ^ "Capello appoints Denisov new Russian captain". RT. 7 September 2012. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012.
  34. ^ Состав национальной сборной России на ЧМ-2014 (in Russian). Russian Football Union. 2 June 2014.
  35. ^ "Russia Euro 2012 Roster: Analyzing the Team's Starting 11 and More". Bleacher Report. 5 June 2012.
  36. ^ "Euro 2012: Igor Denisov turning from badboy into golden boy". NDTV Sports. 16 June 2012.
  37. ^ ДТП не было, был мужской разговор (in Russian). Fontanka. 11 August 2010.
  38. ^ "Zenit's success leaves a bitter taste". The Football Ramble. 18 November 2010.
  39. ^ "Russia's Euro 2012 squad: Igor Denisov". RT. 26 May 2012. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012.
  40. ^ "Zenit: Denisov Went on Strike Over Pay". RIA Novosti. 23 September 2012.
  41. ^ "Igor Denisov sent to Zenit`s youth squad". Zenit Football Club. 23 September 2012.
  42. ^ "Zenit's $130m dilemma". ESPNFC. 24 September 2012.
  43. ^ "War is over: Denisov returns to Zenit's lineup". Russia Today. 1 November 2012. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  44. ^ «Кобелев занял правильную и принципиальную позицию по Денисову» (in Russian). Izvestia. 19 November 2015.
  45. ^ ФК "Локомотив" оштрафовал Игоря Денисова за оскорбление инспектора допинг-контроля (in Russian). TASS. 20 April 2018.
  46. ^ "The Denisov family has twins!". Zenit Football Club. 18 December 2011.
  47. ^ "Euro 2012: Russia – the secrets behind the players". The Guardian. 30 May 2012.
  48. ^ Igor Denisov at Soccerway. Retrieved 2 May 2017.

External linksEdit