MOSCOW, September 28 (RIA Novosti)
Igor Denisov's rift with the Zenit St. Petersburg management showed no signs of healing over on Friday, with the midfielder named in the starting lineup for the Russian club's reserves.
Sources at the league champions told R-Sport earlier this week they expected the stalwart's salary spat with coach Luciano Spalletti and the club board to have been resolved by the weekend.
But Denisov was named in the starting eleven for a Zenit reserves match against Lokomotiv Moscow's reserves.
The club said last week that Denisov, reportedly an English Premier League target for several clubs, issued a pay rise ultimatum in protest at the huge salaries of new arrivals Hulk and Axel Witsel.
Zenit's leading scorer last season Alexander Kerzhakov was also dropped to the reserves for unspecified “inappropriate behavior.”
In an ugly and very public dispute, Spalletti on Friday lambasted both players over their lack of professionalism, but said the door back into the first team was open "when they show that they are ready to be members of the team."
Zenit are fifth in the table with one point from two last games. They face Lokomotiv Moscow at home on Saturday before hosting AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Denisov and Kerzhakov have been called into a preliminary 36-man Russia squad for World Cup qualifiers against Portugal and Azerbaijan next month.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.