Magic Arshavin lights up Euro 2008

Playmaker Andrei Arshavin, who engineered Russia's memorable 3-1 extra-time victory against the Netherlands, demonstrated at Euro 2008 that a new football star was born. He's become one of the most sought-after players in Europe.


Russia's bewitching playmaker Andrei Arshavin has added a special touch of magic to Euro 2008 according to UEFA's technical director Andy Roxburgh on Monday.

The 27-year-old Zenit St Petersburg star has put in two standout performances since he returned from suspension, scoring in two successive games and being at the heart of Russia's flowing football which saw them outplay match favourites Holland in the quarter-finals to win 3-1.

"There are a lot of good players," admitted Roxburgh, a former Scotland manager.

"Arshavin didn't play the first two games (he was suspended), and he brought a spark of magic. And he made a good team, Russia, become even better".

Russia's playmaker Andrei Arshavin is set to have a great career France football legend Zinedine Zidane told AFP on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Arshavin has shone as Russia have made the Euro 2008 semi-finals, starring in both the 2-0 win over Sweden and then the 3-1 victory over Holland in the quarter-final on Saturday, scoring in both.

"The Russian number 10, it is his first major finals and he hasn't stopped posing questions for the opposition, as if he has been always doing just that," said Zidane.

"He had a great season with Zenit St-Petersburg (he was named Russian player of the year after they won the title for the first time since the fall of Communism and went on to win the UEFA Cup), but the Euro is another matter entirely.

"I see it like this: The Euro is even tougher than the World Cup.

"Thus, anyone who has a huge Euro is set to have a great career, it doesn't work out any other way than that."

Arshavin, who is rumoured to be a 10million pounds target for Premiership giants Arsenal, was suspended for the first two matches here for being sent-off in the Russians final Euro qualifier against Andorra.

However, he has fully justified coach Guus Hiddink's decision to select him in the squad in the knowledge that he was unavailable for the first two group games and on Thursday will seek to inspire Russia into their first major final since the Soviet Union lost to Holland in the 1988 Euro final.


The 27-year-old Zenit St Petersburg star told Spanish sports daily AS that while he had received offers from England - Arsenal and rivals Chelsea are believed to have tabled 10million pound offers - and Germany there was onll one country he wished to play in the Spanish league.

"I know that I have offers from England and Germany, but what I really want is to play in the Primera Liga," said Arshavin, who has scored twice in the two games he has played here so far after missing the first two matches through suspension.

"It's the championship that I have always followed, I like how football is played there. But for now, I have no offers from Spain," he added.

Arshavin inspired Zenit to the Russian title last season - earning him the Russian player of the year award - and then the UEFA Cup trophy - creating both their goals in an easy 2-0 win over Scottish side Rangers in the final - but has suggested he would like to move on.

The president of the Russian Football Association, Vitali Mutko, said Arshavin has a preference for Barcelona where he would be a replacement for Portuguese international Deco who is likely to leave the Spanish side, AS reported.

Rival sports daily Marca however said Spanish champions Real Madrid are chasing the striker who played a decisive role in Russia's 3-1 Euro 2008 quarter-final win over Holland on Saturday.

Arsenal and Chelsea are reportedly ready to pay a 10-million-pound release clause in the player's contract with Everton, Manchester City and Newcastle United also seen as being interested in Arshavin.


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