Russia captain Igor Denisov has been sent to train with Zenit St. Petersburg’s reserve team amid claims of unrest among the team, a source at Zenit told R-Sport on Saturday.
Denisov, the regular captain of the Russian national team since Euro 2012, was left out of the squad for Zenit’s 2-2 draw with Krylya Sovetov on Saturday.
“Denisov, who did not made the squad, has been sent to the reserve side,” the source said, adding that the decision was made after a frank exchange of views with coach Luciano Spalletti on Friday.
“It’s still hard to say when he’ll join up with the first team.”
After the Krylya game, Spalletti said that several players were destabilizing the club, without naming any individuals.
Renowned Russian TV commentator and former Zenit player Gennady Orlov, who was in Samara for the match, also told R-Sport that Denisov had been dropped to the reserves and said other players had also been similarly punished, hinting at wider discontent.
"It's not just Denisov on his own who's been sent to the reserves. Wait until tomorrow and you'll understand it all," he said.
Zenit’s captain is goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev.
The team is fourth in the Russian Premier League after nine games and recently made headlines across Europe by signing striker Hulk and midfielder Axel Witsel for a combined €80 million.