Artem Dzyuba is Russia’s giant striker who is one of the players being trusted with ensuring the World Cup 2018 hosts don’t embarrass themselves. The Russians go into the tournament as the lowest ranked team at 65th in the world. Speaking to news agency Sputnik, Dzyuba, 29, attempted to rally the team’s fans. The 6-foot-5 target man said, “We want to make the country happy [with our results], we know that lots of people believe in us. I assure you that there won’t be any indifferent people on the football pitch, everyone will be fighting and struggling.”
Dzyuba added, “I’d like to ask you, the journalists, to support us. The tournament hasn’t even started, and you’re already acting so aggressively. Let the tournament finish, and make… conclusions then… Now I ask the whole country to unite… Many millions of people will root for us… We are preparing for the tournament, we want to win… For us, this is the main event in our lives, we need the support of the whole country… We will fight, we will struggle, and you will judge us then [after the World Cup].”
The striker concluded, “We have many experienced guys [in the team]… We are playing at home, on our home ground, it’s the rivals who should be afraid, we have the twelfth player [the fans]. I want this twelfth player to support us with his heart and soul… Root for us… and then, when the tournament is over, we’ll discuss it, you’ll say what you want, and we’ll answer you.”
Dzyuba has scored 11 goals in his 23 games for Russia. His team face Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Uruguay in Group A of the tournament.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. When He Was Left Out of His Team’s Training Camp in January 2018, Dzyuba Responded by Posting a 19th Century English Poem to Instagram
At the start of the Russian season in January 2018, Dzyuba was left out of his team, Zenit St. Petersburg’s, training camp. Futbol Grad reported at the time that Dzyuba was deemed not fit enough to travel with the team. The striker denied these allegations in his Instagram story where he posted numerous videos showing him training intensely at the gym.
He followed that up with a regular post showing his face accompanied by the poem, “Invictus” by Victorian English poet William Henley. The poem concludes with the lines, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” Throughout history, the poem has been used by political figures as diverse as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama.
Read More From Heavy
Lena Nersesian aka Lena the Plug: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
2. His Wife, Kristina Dzyuba, Publicly Forgave Him After He Had Sex in a Car With a Russian TV Presenter
In 2015, Dzyuba was reported to have had sex with a Russian TV presenter, Maria Orzel, in her car. Despite this, his wife, Kristina …read more