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2 Mar, 2022 15:17

Ukrainian defender Rakitskiy leaves Russian champions Zenit

Zenit St. Petersburg have accepted Yaroslav Rakitskiy's request to leave the club in the wake of the Ukrainian conflict
Ukrainian defender Rakitskiy leaves Russian champions Zenit

Ukrainian defender Yaroslav Rakitskiy has been granted his release by Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg after the 32-year-old defender requested the cancelation of his contract in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Rakitskiy, who had amassed 54 caps for his country but the last of which came in 2018, had previously expressed his opposition to the ongoing conflict on social media, posting an image of the Ukrainian flag with the caption: "I'm Ukrainian. Peace in Ukraine. Stop war."

Rakitskiy has not been selected by his national side since he transferred to Zenit from Shakhtar Donetsk in early 2019. 

It had been speculated over the weekend that Rakitskiy was to leave Zenit, but these reports were dismissed by the club's president and director general Alexander Medvedev.

Rakitskiy's release brings to an end a successful spell in St. Petersburg which saw him represent the club 108 times, during which time he scored eight goals and provided 15 assists. 

He also won three Russian league titles, a Russian Cup and two Super Cups. 

His contract with the Russia club is understood to have been set to expire this summer.

"The club and our supporters wish to thank Yaroslav Rakitskiy for his time here and recognize the professionalism and passion he displayed while with us," wrote the club in confirming Rakitskiy's release.

"We sincerely wish the best to Yaroslav, his friends and his family."