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Roman Zozulya delays decision on Rayo Vallecano future

Roman Zozulya of Real Betis Balompie during a La Liga match against Sporting Gijon.
Roman Zozulya has postponed a decision about his La Liga future.

Ukrainian international Roman Zozulya has yet to make up his mind on whether or not to play for Rayo Vallecano.

Segunda Division strugglers Rayo signed the 27-year-old striker on loan from La Liga side Real Betis for the remainder of the season last week but his transfer has been met by opposition with some Rayo supporters accusing him of links to radical groups back home.

Zozulya was expected to announce his decision on Monday but the player had decided to wait a little longer.

"There will be a series of meetings tomorrow [Tuesday] and from then on, a definite decision will be taken and it will be announced to the media," Zozulya's Spanish agent Jose Lorenzo told Marca. "If the social atmosphere that breathes there as we saw yesterday before the game, around the stadium and during the game, does not change, it's practically impossible that Roman can go there.

"It's unsustainable, we have to avoid having people go there and find a situation that repeats itself.

"The player received threats when he arrived and if that hostile environment remains the same, I cannot advise anyone to get in the wolf's mouth."

Zozulya, who vehemently denied links to any paramilitary or neo-Nazi groups, returned to Seville last Wednesday "very affected" and admitted he "feared for his family" after being insulted at training on Wednesday by a group of radical Rayo fans.

La Liga stated that Zozulya and his family's safety was paramount and that they would protect the player if he decided to play for Rayo.

Rayo fans again voiced their opposition to Zozulya's arrival during the 1-0 home win over Almeria on Sunday with supporters at the Vallecas stadium holding pictures of the player wearing a Rayo jersey with the message "not welcome" and "our strip cannot be stained by racism."

Rayo coach Ruben Baraja said after Sunday's game that it was Zozulya's decision to make.

"No one expected this situation," he told Cadena Ser. "We have to give him a chance to choose with freedom. We have to respect his decision."

The 27-year-old can only play for Rayo this season.

Zozulya signed a three-year contract with Betis last summer from Dnipro but cannot play for the Andalucian club again as the transfer window closed the same day he signed for Rayo.

La Liga rules stated that players cannot register for more than two teams in one campaign.

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