Russia captain, Dzyuba declines call-up for ‘family reasons’

Dzyuba declines Russia call-up for family reasons

Russia captain Artyom Dzyuba says he has not joined the national team’s training camp for family reasons, rather than “political aspects”.

Dzyuba, 33, is said to have relatives in Ukraine.

But he said coach Valery Karpin’s suggestion that he had declined a call-up over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “a misunderstanding”.

“It is to do with family matters, but I would rather not go into detail,” said Zenit St Petersburg striker Dzyuba.

“At this point in time, I wanted to spend time with my family,” he added. “I did not go with the Russian team [but that was] not because of political aspects.”

Karpin said Dzyuba, Russia’s all-time joint-leading scorer with 30 goals, had asked to not be included in the training camp “given the difficult situation in Ukraine”.

However, on those comments, Dzyuba said: “I think there was a misunderstanding. Valery [Karpin] did not understand me correctly, or my words were misinterpreted.”

Russian football clubs and national teams have been suspended from all competitions by Fifa and Uefa following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.