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Jan 12, 2006

Korean signing Hyun breaks new ground in Russia

ST PETERSBURG, Jan 12 (Reuters) - South Korean midfielder Hyun Young-min, who has signed for Zenit St Petersburg, has made history by becoming the first player from his country to join a Russian top-flight team.

Zenit said on Thursday Hyun, who has been with Korean champions Ulsan, had signed a one-year contract.

Hyun, 26, who has 15 international caps, was in South Korea's 2002 World Cup squad but did not play a game at the finals where the Koreans reached the semis for the first time.

Zenit, who face Norway's Rosenborg Trondheim in the UEFA Cup first knockout round next month, said they would be very active in the transfer market in the close season after being bought by Russian energy giant Gazprom last month.

Zenit have high hopes in the new season after finishing a disappointing sixth in Russia last year. The Russian league season kicks off on March 19.