Zhirkov with Zenit in 2016
|Full name||Yuri Valentinovich Zhirkov|
|Date of birth||20 August 1983|
|Place of birth||Tambov, RSFSR, Soviet Union|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Playing position||Left Winger / Left Back|
|Zenit St. Petersburg|
|2016–||Zenit Saint Petersburg||16||(1)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 25 September 2016.
A left-sided player who can play full-back or winger, he began his career at local Spartak Tambov before joining top-flight CSKA Moscow in 2004. Domestic and European success followed, and in 2009 he moved to English Premier League club Chelsea for £18 million. After two seasons there he returned to Russia with Anzhi Makhachkala, who sold him to Dynamo Moscow in 2013. He then signed for Zenit in January 2016.
Zhirkov has earned over 65 international caps since 2005. His performance at Euro 2008, in which Russia reached the semi-finals, was recognised with his inclusion in the Team of the Tournament and award as well as Futbol's Russian Footballer of the Year. He was also selected for Euro 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Zhirkov was born in Tambov, on 20 August 1983. His father, Valentin Ivanovich Zhirkov, worked at the "Revtrud" factory and his mother was a postwoman. Yuri was the second child in the family. The family lived in poverty, struggling to buy basic goods such as food and clothes. He skipped training to help his family grow vegetables during the summer so that they could have adequate food during the winter. His first coach was Valery Sharapov who signed him for the Tambov Regional Children and Youth Sports School.
Zhirkov joined CSKA in January 2004. His first official game was on 7 March 2004 in the Russian Super Cup against Spartak. CSKA's 3–1 victory gave him his first trophy. Zhirkov made his debut in the Champions League on 27 July against Neftchi Baku. He also appeared in the third qualifying round against Rangers.
He made his debut in the CIS Cup against FC Gomel and was replaced in the 70th minute. The final score was 2–2. In his second game, against FC Pakhtakor Tashkent, he played all 90 minutes, with the final score being 2–1. In the last qualifying match against Regar-TadAZ Tursunzoda which also ended 2–1, Yuri played all 90 minutes. After the Cup, Yuri Adzhem claimed that Yuri had a good chance to receive a permanent place in the squad.
Although Zhirkov missed the first game against S.L. Benfica, he participated in the return game. He also took part in both games vs. FK Partizan and made a save in the second game. After beating Auxerre and Parma CSKA made its way to the final. On 18 May 2005, against Sporting Lisbon at their own Estádio José Alvalade, Zhirkov scored a goal in the 65th minute which gave CSKA a 2–1 lead. The final score was 3–1, making CSKA the first Russian team to win the UEFA Cup.
Zhirkov participated in all six games of the group stage in the 2006 Champions League. On 6 December 2006 he scored a brilliant goal against Hamburger SV, which was selected as the best goal of the competition by UEFA's official magazine. In the 2007–08 season, however, CSKA lost almost every game in Europe.
Zhirkov began his participation in the following season of European competition on 18 September 2008, against Croatian club NK Slaven Belupo. CSKA came from behind to win their first match 2–1. In the next game, CSKA beat Deportivo, 3–0. Zhirkov provided goal assists against AS Nancy, Feyenoord and scored in the game with Lech Poznań. It was his third goal in European competition.
In 2009, Zhirkov participated in three games in European competitions, two against Aston Villa and one against Shakhtar Donetsk. In the second game, he scored his first goal in the 2009 tournament. In the third game, he was cautioned by the referee and, therefore, missed the next game.
On 6 July 2009, Zhirkov joined Chelsea on a four-year contract for a reported fee of £18 million, exceeding the £15 million that Arsenal paid for Andrei Arshavin in January 2009, thus making Zhirkov the most expensive Russian football player of all time. He scored on his debut, in a friendly against AC Milan, that ended as the winning goal. After regaining fitness from a knee injury, he made his competitive debut at left back against Queens Park Rangers in a League Cup tie on 23 September.
After battling a knee injury he made his Champions League debut for Chelsea on 25 November against F.C. Porto playing as a left back and setting up the goal of his teammate Nicolas Anelka in a 1–0 win. Zhirkov then made his Premier League debut as a substitute for Joe Cole against West Ham United on 20 December 2009.
He made his first Premier League start in a 2–1 victory over Fulham on 28 December. Due to Ashley Cole's injury against Everton on 10 February, which ruled him out for three months, Zhirkov became first choice left back.
He was one of Chelsea's best players in the Champions League round of 16 second leg against Inter Milan denying several scoring opportunities from the Italian side's strikers, but Chelsea were defeated 1–0 on the night and 3–1 on aggregate. In March 2010, he won two penalties for Chelsea against Aston Villa, both converted by Frank Lampard, as Chelsea won 7–1.
On 13 April 2010, Zhirkov put on the man of the match performance against Bolton Wanderers despite receiving an injury which led to him getting four stitches in his head and had his head bandaged for the remainder of the first half after a clash with the Bolton captain Kevin Davies. During his first season with the club they won the league and FA Cup double making it the club's most successful season ever. His only goal for Chelsea came on 19 October 2010, a volley in a UEFA Champions League match against Spartak Moscow.
He also started for the first team as a replacement for the injured Ramires against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge and Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park providing two crucial assists. On 1 March, he came on as a substitute in the 71st minute, replacing Florent Malouda against title rivals Manchester United. Zhirkov won a penalty in the 78th minute, taken and scored by Frank Lampard, which proved to be the match-winner. He also hit the post, and the ball was deflected into the net by United centre back Nemanja Vidić. The final score was 2–1 in favour of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
On 14 August 2011, Chelsea announced the departure of Zhirkov to Russian Premier League side Anzhi for an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be around £13.2 million. Zhirkov signed a four-year contract with the Russian team. Zhirkov's first Anzhi goal came in a 2–1 win against Amkar Perm on 29 October 2011, hitting a rebound from a corner into the back of the net.
In his last game for Anzhi, on 1 June 2013, he played the entire match as they lost the Russian Cup final to his former team CSKA in a penalty shootout following a 1–1 draw. Both Zhirkov and Jucilei missed their penalties.
On 6 August 2013, Anzhi listed their whole squad up for sale as they announced plans to restructure the business, focusing on youth development. The first players to leave were Igor Denisov, Aleksandr Kokorin and Zhirkov on 15 August 2013, who all joined Dynamo Moscow for undisclosed fees.
On 26 January 2016, FC Zenit Saint Petersburg announced that they signed a two-year contract with Zhirkov. If Zenit and Dynamo would be not able to agree on a transfer fee during the winter 2015–16 transfer window, he would have joined Zenit in July 2016 as a free agent, after his Dynamo contract expired. However, the two teams agreed on transfer fee and he joined Zenit on 30 January.
He was named in the UEFA Euro 2008 Team of the Tournament after helping the team to the semi-finals. In October 2008, Zhirkov was named as one of the 30 nominees for the Ballon d'Or award, given to the top player in Europe.
On 18 November 2009, Zhirkov received his first red card for the national side – he was sent off late in the game for a second bookable offence in the dying minutes of Russia's 0–1 away loss to Slovenia in the 2nd leg of the 2010 World Cup play-off after pushing a Slovenian substitute.
In August 2011, was heckled by Russian fans during a friendly match against Serbia in Moscow, almost every time he contacted the ball and even bombarded with a cigarette packet near the corner area. The fans were angered by his move to Anzhi. Zhirkov was confirmed for Russia's UEFA Euro 2012 squad on 25 May 2012, and played all three games as the team were eliminated in the group stage.
On 2 June 2014, he was included in Russia's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad. In the final preparation match for the tournament, his 61st cap, he scored his first international goal with a volley to open a 2–0 win over Morocco. Zhirkov featured in one match at the finals, playing 71 minutes of the opening 1–1 draw against South Korea before being replaced by Aleksandr Kerzhakov; Russia again exited at the group stage.
- As of 31 December 2015
- As of match played 29 March 2016
|1.||6 June 2014||Lokomotiv Stadium, Moscow, Russia||Morocco||1–0||2–0||Friendly|
|2.||29 March 2016||Stade de France, Paris, France||France||2–3||2–4||Friendly|
Zhirkov has a sister and two brothers. The younger brother, Nikolai, plays for the CSKA Youth Team. Zhirkov married on 1 February 2008 to a Russian model, Inna. On 8 September 2008, their son Dmitriy was born.
Zhirkov has had two automotive accidents in his life. The first accident occurred in January 2005 in Tambov. The footballer, driving on a high speed track, hit a pole while trying to avoid a merging racer. Zhirkov's airbags deployed, leaving him with only minor injuries. On 18 December 2008 Zhirkov was in an accident in Kaliningrad. He left this accident unharmed.
- CSKA Moscow
- UEFA Cup (1): 2005
- Russian Premier League (2): 2005, 2006
- Russian Cup (4): 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009
- Russian Super Cup (4): 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009
- Zenit Saint Petersburg
- UEFA Euro 2008 Team of the Tournament
- Footballer of the Year in Russia (Futbol): 2008
- UEFA Cup top assist: 2008–09
- List of 33 top players of the Russian league: 2013/14.
- Hugman, Barry J. (ed) (2010). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2010–11. Mainstream. p. 452. ISBN 978-1-84596-601-0.
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- Zhirkov's Debut Goal Enough As Chelsea Sneak Past A.C. Milan. Goal.com. Retrieved on 27 January 2016.
- Chelsea vs QPR. goal.com
- "West Ham United 1 – 1 Chelsea". ESPN Soccernet. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- "Chelsea 0–1 Inter Milan (agg 1–3)". BBC News. 16 March 2010.
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- "Y. Zhirkov". Soccerway. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- Van Portvliet, Richard (2 October 2014). "Dínamo bate PSV nos descontos" [Dynamo beat PSV in added time] (in Portuguese). UEFA. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Юрий Жирков продолжит карьеру в «Зените» (in Russian). FC Zenit Saint Petersburg. 26 January 2016.
- Юрий Жирков и Александр Кокорин присоединились к «Зениту» (in Russian). FC Zenit Saint Petersburg. 30 January 2016.
- "Italy v Russia". EU-Football.info. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
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- "England trio on Euro award list". BBC. 19 October 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
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- "Advocaat announced the finalized Euro Squad" (in Russian). 25 May 2012.
- Состав национальной сборной России на ЧМ-2014 (in Russian). Russian Football Union. 2 June 2014.
- "Yuri Zhirkov rounds off Russia's warm-ups in style against Morocco". The Guardian. Associated Press. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- Oliver, Pete (18 June 2014). "Russia 1–1 South Korea". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
- "France 4-2 Russia". BBC Sport. 29 March 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
- "Yuri Zhirkov". European Football. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
- Gripper, Ann (6 July 2009). "Yuri Zhirkov profile: 10 things you need to know about the Chelsea signing". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- Gray, Ashley (8 July 2009). "Yuri the electrician set to spark Chelsea after coming from Russia with love". Daily Mail. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
- UEFA Cup Assists Leaders – 2008/09 – ESPN Soccernet. Soccernet.espn.go.com (14 May 2008). Retrieved 4 February 2011.
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