Zhirkov named Russia’s footballer of the year

Yury Zhirkov at Euro 2008 (AFP Photo / Mladen Antonov)
The Russian Football Union has named CSKA’s midfielder, Yury Zhirkov, the country’s best footballer of the year.

Zhirkov is known as one of the most consistent players in the Russian Premier League. The left midfielder scored three goals in 28 matches for CSKA this season and helped his team grab the silver medals.

He also took an active part in Russia’s Euro 2008 bronze success as he appeared in all the games, playing in an unfamiliar position of left back.

Zhirkov, together with Andrey Arshavin, were among the two Russians present among the 30 nominees for the Golden Ball, which is awarded to the best footballer in the world.

He joined CSKA back in 2004 and seems satisfied with his position in the club.

However there are rumours that Italian super club Juventus wants to buy the player, as does Zenit St. Petersburg.

CSKA finished second in the Russian League but the army men players received most of the awards from the Russian Football Union.

CSKA’s player Igor Akinfeev was crowned number one goalkeeper of the year.

The outstanding performance by another CSKA player, Alan Dzagoyev, in his first professional season has caught the attention of Real Madrid and Barcelona. He was also awarded with the title of Best Young Player of the Russian Premier League.

Brazilian star Wagner Love also was praised as the League’s best scorer, with 20 goals in just 26 games. The man wears a CSKA shirt, but may join Chelsea during the winter break.

The award for Best Coach was split between the Russian national team’s boss Guus Hiddink, and the manager of champions Rubin Kazan Kurban Berdyev.

Stanislav Sukhina was praised as Russia’s Best Referee.