Denisov sorry for Zenit walkout

Russia captain Igor Denisov has begged Zenit St Petersburg for forgiveness after walking out on the club for a month in protest at the salary paid to new signing Hulk.

The influential midfielder has not played for Zenit since late September after refusing to train because of the reported 100 million euros ($124.34 million) the team paid for the star Brazil striker and Axel Witsel of Belgium.

Denisov was in the process of renegotiating his own $3 million contract that runs through 2014 and felt that the club was showing disrespect to players who won it the championship for the second year running last year.

Zenit said Denisov himself asked the club management for a meeting that could finally help resolve the dispute.

"I have a valid contract - I both have to and want to see it off until the end," the club quoted Denisov as telling the team executives and coaches in a statement released on Thursday.

"I have grown and become a professional while playing for Zenit and would like to bring benefit to this club."

On his protest, he added: "I was wrong in this situation. I was driven by my emotions, and in the end failed to help my team-mates."

The statement added that Denisov had been asked to train with the club again.

Zenit won three of the four championship matches it played in Denisov's absence while also securing its first UEFA Champions League victory with a 1-0 defeat of Belgium's Anderlecht.

It has also made the quarter-finals of the Russian Cup and been praised by commentators as a more cohesive unit than the one that seemed ready to break apart at the time of Denisov's walkout.

The team from Russian President Vladimir Putin's native city has pulled up to third place and sits just three points behind championship leader and eternal rival CSKA Moscow.

Hulk meanwhile has scored just one goal in five matches while picking up four yellow cards.

Source AFP