Brazilian striker Ari applies for Russian citizenship – football club chief
Ari, 31, has been in Russia since joining Spartak Moscow in 2010, where he scored 21 goals in 89 appearances. He is currently on loan at Lokomotiv from FC Krasnodar.
"The process for receiving Russian citizenship has been launched," Ilya Gerkus, Lokomotiv president, told TASS on Tuesday.
"All of the required documents have been submitted and they are currently pending the final stage of consideration."
Ari – full name Ariclenes da Silva Ferreira – began his career at Brazilian club Fortaleza Esporte Clube, before moving to Europe for spells at Swedish team Kalmar FF and Dutch club AZ Alkmaar.
He scored 22 goals in 76 appearances for Krasnodar before his loan move to Lokomotiv earlier this year, and has six goals in 10 games for the Moscow club.
If he does go on to claim citizenship, he will be following in the footsteps of fellow Brazilian-born Lokomotiv player Guilherme Marinato. The goalkeeper joined Lokomotiv in 2007 and has made almost 200 appearances for the club.
He claimed Russian citizenship in 2015, and was selected for the Russian squad to play at the 2016 UEFA European Championships in France, as well as the recent Confederations Cup held in Russia. He has made two appearances for the national team, and mainly serves as an understudy to long-established no.1 Igor Akinfeev.
Brazilian-born defender Mario Fernandes, who plays for CSKA Moscow in the Russian Premier League, was also granted Russian citizenship via presidential decree from Vladimir Putin in July 2016. Fernandes made one appearance for Brazil in 2014, but is yet to feature for the Russian national team.
Striker Ari made headlines in May when he was sent off along with three other players for their involvement in a mass brawl at the end of the Russian cup final, when Lokomotiv defeated Ural 2-0.
After the game, Ural striker Roman Pavlyuchenko said the Brazilian should be “kicked out of the country,”Sport Express reported.