Russia celebrates Zenit’s UEFA triumphMay 16th, 2008 - 1:57 pm ICT by admin
Moscow, May 16 (DPA) Russian politicians stumbled over themselves to exalt St Petersburg club Zenit Thursday on their 2-0 UEFA cup victory over the Rangers in Manchester. Former president Vladimir Putin, who filled Moscow’s government with allies from his native St Petersburg, was the first to offer praises on phone to Dutch coach Dick Advocaat immediately after the game.
“Putin said the win was a brilliant confirmation of the rise of the country’s football and sports in general,” his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.
“Russia is at the Zenith” trumpeted the headline of popular daily Tvoi Den, while state mouthpiece Rossiskaya Gazeta triumphantly stamped “Zenit Delivers the Rangers A Black Eye” across the front and back page Thursday.
“The football God was on the side of our champions,” wrote the newspaper, and congratulations poured on in the capital, growing in hyperbole.
Putin’s successor, another St Petersburg native and confirmed fan, said all of Russia “had been starving for such a win.”
“The first goal was beautiful. It immediately made me feel like getting out and playing football myself,” the Russian president enthused.
Head of energy monopoly Gazprom Alexei Miller, Zenit’s main sponsors, weighed in with more exclamation and a promise the team would only move up from there.
“Last year St Petersburg became Russia’s football capital. Today, it is the football capital for all of Europe,” Miller was quoted by news agency Interfax as saying.
“Everybody expected it to be an easy win for us,” tempered Advocaat, “But it was more difficult because the expectation was on our side … winning a prize like this does not come often in your life.”
There was no champagne at hand for the thirsty Zenit players after the match, but Russian journalists caught them on their way to a sure hangover.
The man dubbed best player of the match Andrei Arshavin boasted: “I am already a little drunk, and I think I will carry on!”
Asked by popular daily Moskovsky Kommsomolets how they were celebrating Wednesday, Zenit midfielder Konstantine Zyryanov answered for the team: “We’ll drink beer!”
“After we fly to Petersburg. There we will celebrate. And after I will go on to Moscow and again celebrate there. I have four days until the national team meets. I think, it’ll be enough,” he laughed.
St Petersburg residents seemed ready to join a longer party. Some 200 fans waving banners and blocking traffic grew in number Thursday as the work day ended or they recovered from embracing thousands of other proud supporters until the morning hours.
Zenit is the second Russian team to win the UEFA Cup and Russia’s new minister of sports Vitaly Mutko hailed the win as a present for all of Russia.
“In this game there was everything - passion, remarkable tactics, bright self-sacrifice and gamesmanship by our football players. All this speaks to Russian football’s enormous potential,” Mutko told journalists in Moscow Thursday.
- Russia to decide on new coach soon: Sports minister - Jul 05, 2012
- Zenit can win Champions League in two years: Malafeev - Sep 09, 2012
- Racist Zenit graffiti prompts UEFA warning - Jun 07, 2012
- Team relied on class, not effort: Russian sports minister - Jun 23, 2012
- Russian football chief resigns after Euro failure - Jun 26, 2012
- Arshavin crucial to Russia's success, says Advocaat - Jun 09, 2012
- Russia needs fresh blood, says Hiddink - Jul 13, 2012
- Gazprom unveiled as UEFA Champions League sponsor - Jul 09, 2012
- Gazprom unveiled as Champions League sponsor - Jul 10, 2012
- Spalletti backs Guardiola, Semak for Russia post - Jul 11, 2012
- Russia launches anti-racism football taskforce - Mar 22, 2012
- Ex-Russia coach backs liberal foreigners limit - Jul 06, 2012
- Zenit take Russia Premier League title - May 14, 2012
- Zenit coach confirms interest in Nani - Aug 18, 2012
- Zenit kick off title defence with Amkar win - Jul 22, 2012
Tags: best player, black eye, coach dick, cup victory, former president, gazprom, hangover, hyperbole, interfax, mouthpiece, praises, president vladimir putin, russian journalists, russian politicians, russian president, tvoi den, uefa, vladimir putin, zenit, zenith