Zenit and Lokomotiv before the Super Cup: How they’ve rested, who has joined, what has changed

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We remind you what both teams have been up during the short pre-season break ahead of the first trophy of the season.

Zenit: Dzyuba's new contract, star defender replaced, personal awards

After the Russian Cup final, Zenit only had a five-day break: on 31 July, the team gathered again to prepare for the Russian Super Cup. While the players were resting, the club was actively working:

- Zenit signed new contracts with Artem Dzyuba (two years with an option for one more), Mikhail Kerzhakov (1+1) and Yury Zhirkov (for a year) to retain three experienced players. Dzyuba has said that the agreement in principle was reached in the winter, while Kerzhakov proved last season that he is ready to go out and play reliably at any time. Zhirkov preferred to stay in St. Petersburg, despite interest from Krasnodar.

– The club parted ways with captain Branislav Ivanovic, released Igor Smolnikov, who will continue his career with FC Krasnodar, and Oleg Shatov, who left for Rubin. In addition, Emmanuel Mammana was not included in the registered squad for the new season.

– Zenit are also responsible for the main transfer of the entire Russian off-season, as they acquired centre-back Dejan Lovren from Liverpool. He came to Russia immediately after winning the Premier League, having won the Champions League a year ago, while in 2018 he reached the World Cup Final with the Croatian national team. The 31-year-old is expected to be the main defender instead of Ivanovic.

– Attacking midfielder Andrey Mostovoy, who proved himself in Sochi, as well as defenders Danil Krugovoy and Denis Terentyev from Ufa, have returned to Zenit from loan spells.

– Sergey Semak and Artem Dzyuba won individual awards at the end of the season. They were awarded RPL Manager of the Season and Player of the Season respectively by an expert vote.

– Zenit legend Andrey Arshavin now works with the club’s coaching staff. Since August, he has been the Sporting Director of the Youth Football Development Department.

Lokomotiv: Krychowiak on Kamchatka, Smolov's return, newcomer rated among most talented youngsters in the world

Lokomotiv had a little more time to rest: their holiday lasted seven days, and the team started training on 30 July. Even in such a short period of time, the main traveler of the team and, perhaps, of our entire championship, Grzegorz Krychowiak sprang a surprise: he flew to Kamchatka. The Pole and his wife admired the scenery there, watched bears up close, and the Valley of Geysers. He called it the treasure of Russia, which everyone should see.

While Krychowiak flew across the country, and his colleagues were resting closer to home by going fishing, the club resolved personnel issues:

– Lokomotiv extended the contracts with four main players: Maciej Rybus and Anton Kochenkov remained with the team, and the agreements with Vladislav Ignatiev and Eder were re-signed automatically.

– The club still parted ways with Jefferson Farfan. The Peruvian scored in his first match after a serious injury, but in the end, the 35-year-old forward was not offered a new contract. Aleksandr Kolomeytsev and Benedikt Howedes decided to end their careers in the summer as Lokomotiv bade them a fond farewell.

– Fedor Smolov returned to the team from his Spanish loan spell. Celta de Vigo did not buy him out, meaning the scorer of goals against Real Madrid and Barcelona is now a Lokomotiv player again. Head coach Marko Nikolic explained that he personally wanted Smolov to return, stressing that working together is a mutual desire.

– Lokomotiv have signed two new players. Twenty-five-year-old defender Vitaly Lystsov has returned to his native club after six years with other teams, including a long spell in Portugal, after arriving from Krylia Sovetov Samara. Lokomotiv also signed 18-year-old midfielder Jasurbek Jaloliddinov from Uzbekistan's Bunyodkor. It is not yet clear if the teenage wonderkid, who made an October list of the "60 Best Young Talents in World Football", will start the season in the main team, but they are definitely counting on him.

Photo: Zenit


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