MOSCOW, September 10 (RIA Novosti)
New Anzhi signing Lassana Diarra has brushed off concerns about the artificial pitches and freezing weather in the Russian Premier League.
The 27-year-old French international was officially unveiled at RIA Novosti on Monday a week after Anzhi confirmed his transfer from Real Madrid.
The league has come under criticism from many quarters over the last few months over the poor state of the natural grass pitches and the unnatural artificial surfaces some teams play on.
In addition, the Russian Football Union took the decision last year to switch to a winter league to synchronize the football calendar with the rest of Europe, meaning some games could potentially be played in freezing conditions.
But Diarra seemed unfazed.
"I've already played on a synthetic pitch," he said. "Sure, there's a difference when it comes to Spanish pitches. But when you play on artificial pitches, it a game for both teams, these two teams must adapt quickly to the conditions. I don't think there will be any problems to get used to the non-natural pitches."
As for the weather, the midfielder said he was ready, though it might take time to adjust.
"As regards the temperature, it's not important for me. I will play in minus 20, minus 30, I will fight for my team. But I say again, I will need some time to get accustomed to the culture, to the country, and to the weather."
Diarra has signed a three-year deal at Anzhi with the option of a further year.
Neither Anzhi nor Real has disclosed the value of the transfer, though Spanish media have reported a sum of €5 million.
He joins striker Samuel Eto'o and defender-turned-coach Roberto Carlos at the big-spending side owned by Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov.
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