Transfer news

Zhirkov returns to Russia with Anzhi

August 6, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Russia international Yuri Zhirkov has completed a return to his homeland after swapping Chelsea for big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala.

Yuri Zhirkov cost Chelsea £18million in 2009
GettyImagesYuri Zhirkov cost Chelsea £18million in 2009

Zhirkov, 27, endured a difficult two years at Stamford Bridge, failing to establish himself as a regular under Carlo Ancelotti after arriving as the most expensive Russian player of all time when he moved for £18 million from CSKA Moscow.

The left-sided defender-cum-midfielder had stated his desire to return to Russia after an injury-plagued spell in England and the likes of Rubin Kazan, Dynamo Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg were also linked with a swoop.

But Zhirkov opted for Anzhi Makhachkala, who are bankrolled by oligarch Suleyman Kerimov and boast former World Cup winner Roberto Carlos as their captain.

"I am very glad to be here and I hope I will have the chance to make my debut on Anzhi's next game," Zhirkov told the club's official website after penning a four-year deal.

He was presented to the crowd before his new club's home victory over Tom Tomsk on Saturday, which left Anzhi fourth in the Russian Premier League after 18 games.