Brazilianborn football star Claudinho, who has represented Zenit Saint Petersburg in the Russian Premier League since 2021, has ruled out playing for the Russian national team and says that he will instead await an approach from the country of his birth.
The 26yearold, who was voted by his peers as the best player in Russias top flight in his debut season in 2021, was among 38 people granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin in February a move which potentially opened the door to representing the country on the international stage from 2026.
However, speaking with RIA Novosti Sport, he instead said that he believes his international future lies with Brazil.
At the moment I dont think about it and I cant even imagine why I will be called up to the Russian team, Claudinho said in comments published on Saturday. There are many talented and highquality football players worthy of playing for the national team.
He added Any Brazilian boy from childhood dreams of getting into the Brazilian national team.
Read more Brazilian football star reveals reason for Russian passport plans
It has been suggested that the reason for foreign players pursuit of Russian citizenship is largely related to tax concessions, according to Dmitry Khomukha, a former coach of a Russian youth team.
This is the main reason.
Russian football icon Andrei Kanchelskis, meanwhile, said that Claudinhos actions are adequate and normal.
I think its funny that we associate citizenship with playing in the national team, he said on Saturday via Sport.ru. French actor Gerard Depardieu also received Russian citizenship, but this does not oblige him to act in Russian cinema.
Russian national and club teams remain banned from international competition by decree of FIFA and UEFA until further notice due to sanctions introduced shortly after the launch of Moscows military action in Ukraine last year.
In addition to Claudinho, another of Zenits Brazilian imports, Malcom, has also received Russian nationality.
I have a negative attitude towards the naturalization of football players, Khomukha said in February. Here the monetary interest of the players themselves play a role.
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