Stanislav Cherchesov recently told Russian journalists that he had informed both Titov and another out-of-favor player, Ukrainian international Maxim Kalinichenko, that he saw "no place in the starting line up for them and that he had no moral right to keep such players sitting on the bench." He added that the players were "in need of motivation," and would "look for new clubs."
Titov, an attacking midfielder who joined Spartak's youth side in 1983 at the age of eight, broke into the first team in 1995 and made his name as the Moscow club won title after title under Oleg Romanstev, the chain-smoking, at times eccentric genius of the Russian game.
The 32-year old has also made 41 appearances for the national side, scoring seven goals.
In 2003, after a Euro 2004 play-off against Wales that Russia won 1-0, Titov tested positive for bromantan, an attention-enhancing substance produced for Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan. He maintains his innocence to this day, claiming that the club doctor simply failed to carry out a proper diet check. He was, however, banned from football for a year, during which time he became a regular on Russian chat and reality shows.
The only player left at Spartak from the Romanstev era, Titov was dropped from the first team after the club's recent 5-1 defeat at home to deadly rivals CSKA Moscow.
Speaking on Thursday to the Russian sports paper Sport Express, Titov said, "I'd like to thank everyone for their support during my career. My departure is not the end of the world. A lot of prominent players have left Spartak... but this has never stopped the fans from supporting the team."
The veteran of the Russian game was at one time rumored to have been a target for a number of top foreign clubs, including Bayern Munich and Arsenal, the latter famously beaten 4-1 in Moscow by a Titov-inspired Spartak in a Champions League group match in 2000. However, Spartak were reluctant to let him go, and Titov, who has said that his childhood dream was "to play for Spartak," remained with the club throughout the crisis years of 2003 and 2004, when the club came eighth and tenth in the Russian Premier League. Spartak finished runners up for the second consecutive season in 2007, earning a Champions League spot.
Summing up the feelings of the majority of Russian soccer fans, ex-Spartak manager Alexander Starkov told the Sovetski Sport paper on Thursday that, "There isn't a single philosopher in the world who could sum up in just one phrase exactly what Titov leaving Spartak means."