- Russian striker Artem Dzyuba was loaned to Arsenal Tula after a falling out with manager Roberto Mancini at Zenit St. Petersburg.
- With Arsenal and Zenit set to meet, Dzyuba offered to pay half of the fees required for the opportunity to play against his former squad.
- The move paid off, with Dzyuba scoring a late equaliser and going on to celebrate in front of the manager that spurned him.
Professional athletes are fuelled by a variety of things – a love of the game, a desire to be known as the best, or a new contract can all be effective motivators for competition at its highest levels.
But few things can motivate a professional athlete like spite, as Russian striker Artem Dzyuba proved over the weekend.
Dzyuba had a falling out with manager Roberto Mancini at Zenit St. Petersburg earlier in the Russian Premier League season, prompting a loan to Arsenal Tula. As a part of the deal, Dzyuba was not allowed to play against Zenit unless his new team paid a hefty fee. While most players might decide to sit the game out, Dzyuba instead offered to cover half of the cost, putting down the equivalent of over US$80,000 for the right to face his old coach.
The decision paid off substantially.
Dzyuba started the game off with an assist and would go on to net a late equaliser in the final minutes of the game to force a 3-3 draw.
After scoring his goal, Dzyuba took a moment to do some hearty gloating, prancing past his former manager and pointing to his name on the back of his jersey. Safe to say, his relationship with Mancini is still not great.
– Artem Dzyuba sent on loan to Arsenal Tula from Zenit
– Dzyuba said he would pay the €150,000 fee to play against Zenit as he hopes to get revenge against Roberto Mancini
– Dzyuba scores 88th min equaliser
– Celebrates in front of Mancini like thispic.twitter.com/HqfusZZZ2N
— Marathonbet (@marathonbet) April 22, 2018
The goal was not only a great moment in the history of sports spite but could also have enormous implications for Zenit as the Russian Premier League season winds to a close.
With just five games remaining, Zenit is currently fourth in the table, two points shy of qualifying for Champions League play. Should the team be unable to make up the two points they dropped on account of Dzyuba’s late-game heroics, they will look no further than this game as the reason they missed out on the chance to play in Europe’s premier club competition.
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