- © RIA Novosti. Grigory Sysoev
© RIA Novosti. Grigory Sysoev
MOSCOW, February 9 (R-Sport) - Hulk demanded to leave Zenit St. Petersburg after feuds with teammates wrecked his confidence, the Brazil striker said Saturday.
Hulk announced he intended to quit Zenit in the winter transfer window after he was substituted in the team's 1-0 Champions Legaue win at AC Milan in December, three months after he joined in a €40 million move from Porto.
"I think I messed up. I was nervous and I said something I shouldn’t have. Nowadays I’m feeling better at Zenit, I have more confidence in the coach and teammates and I don’t think about that," he told the Euronews TV channel.
"I felt I couldn’t perform because my teammates had no confidence in me.”
Shortly after Hulk's arrival, Zenit captain Igor Denisov was exiled to the reserves for arguing with club management over the size of his own and Hulk's salaries.
"Some players disrespected me, but I said nothing, to avoid more problems," Hulk said, adding "Yes, exactly" when asked whether he was referring to Denisov and striker Alexander Kerzhakov.
Hulk has scored twice in nine league games and once in five Champions League fixtures during his time at Zenit, and has expressed frustration with being substituted frequently, including in the Milan game.
Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti has hinted at splits in the squad between Russian and foreign players, who he suggested attended separate social events.
Zenit are third in the Russian league table, five points behind leaders CSKA Moscow with 11 games remaining.