Artem Dzyuba, captain of Russia, has rejected a call-up to the national team training camp due to the war in Ukraine, where his father is from a number of his relatives live.
Russia do not have any games to play as they have been banned by FIFA and UEFA, but the squad is due to meet up for training and a friendly played against their under-21 side.
However, Dzyuba will not be involved after discussing the situation with Russia manager Valeri Karpin, who took into account ‘difficult situation’ ongoing.
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Karpin said: ‘Sunday we spoke on the phone. [Dzyuba] apologised, asked not to be called up to camp due to difficult situation in Ukraine where many of his relatives live.
‘We had a good talk, decided not to pick him, but will stay in touch and monitor his club performances.’
Dzyuba has been personally criticised by Everton’s Ukrainian defender Vitaliy Mykolenko for not speaking out against Russia’s invasion of his homeland, while West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko also called for him to make comment.
The striker did speak out on social media, but not in the way the Ukrainian players had hoped for.
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‘I did not want to comment on the topic of events in Ukraine. I didn’t want to not because I’m afraid, but because I’m not an expert in politics, I’ve never gotten into it or was going to (unlike a lot of political scientists and virologists who have recently appeared on the internet),’ Dzyuba wrote on Instagram.
‘But I, like any person, have my own opinion. Since I am attracted to this topic from all sides, I will express it.
‘I’m against any war. War is a scary thing. But I am also against human aggression and hatred, which is gaining some extreme scale every day.
‘I’m not ashamed to be Russian. I’m proud to be Russian and I don’t understand why athletes have to suffer now.
‘I’m against double standards. Why one can do everything, but they hand all dogs on us?
‘Why did everyone always scream about sports outside politics, but at the earliest opportunity, when it comes to Russia, this principle is completely forgotten?
‘I repeat, war is scary. In stressful situations, people show their essence, sometimes negative.
‘How much malice, dirt and bile has now been poured on all Russian people, regardless of their position and profession.
‘Those thousands of people who write insults and threats, get in line.
‘It’s even more strange to hear all this from people to whom Russia has given very, very much in their lives. All this only creates even more negativity.
‘The war will end but human relations will remain. And it won’t be possible to rewind it back. Keep this in mind.’
Dzyuba then added in reference to Mykolenko: ‘And to some colleagues who sit on their asses in mansions in England and say nasty things: we cannot be offended by this, we understand everything! Peace and goodness to everybody.’
Photo Credit: Getty