It's no secret that I like Yuri Zhirkov. I like him a lot. I like him for no particular football-related reason. This makes me defend him rather too much and call for him to play perhaps more than deserved, and I'm telling you this because I figure everyone should know that I can't write an article on Zhirkov without being biased. Anyway, he's spoken up for the first time in a little while, and he's been saying things like 'I haven't been allowed to play due to injury despite not being injured and I am pissed off', which is the sort of thing one says when one is on the verge of leaving the club.
Sometimes our doctors just don't understand. I trained fully, but they argue that 'Zhirkov is injured and not ready to play in matches'. Where's the logic? If I'm not limping anymore and can withstand training, then why shouldn't I get through games? Frankly, it hurts me even to talk about it and I don't want to discuss it.
-Yuri Zhirkov. Source: Soccernet.
I am now 100% convinced that Zhirkov is leaving the club, probably very quickly. This sort of thing just does not come out unless a player no longer cares about keeping a good relationship with his team. Considering Florent Malouda's form for much of the season, I think Yuri got a bum deal, and I'd imagine he agrees. He's talking about returning to Russia, which seems like a big step down considering his obvious talents. I'd be surprised if a Premier League team wasn't willing to keep him on.