Triumphant Zenit bring UEFA Cup back to St. Pete
A large crowd of Zenit supporters had gathered to greet the winners in a square near Petrovsky Stadium n St.Petersburg, where Zenit players and management showed off the trophy.
The governor of St. Petersburg, Valentina Matvienko, who travelled to Manchester to watch the game, said she is still full of emotion.
“It seems to me that the entire country supported our team as one family. This is a tremendous victory,” Matvienko told reporters.
“Now Zenit are not just the champions of Russia, they're the best football club in Europe. We feel very proud. The whole of Russia and St. Petersburg are proud. This feeling will stay with us for a long time,” she said.
Ten thousand Russian fans travelled to Manchester to watch the game while millions more back in Russia were glued to their TV sets.
Anatoly Timoshchuk, Zenit’s captain, thanked fans for their support.
“It was once again an away game. But despite there being many fewer of our fans, we got so much support from them. All our team are grateful to them. They created such an atmosphere at the stadium,” he said.
The prestigious cup will remain in St. Petersburg for a year, where it will be put on public display. Then the trophy will be handed back to the UEFA administration, but the team will retain a replica, which is about four fifths the size of the original.