The Rise Of Zenit St Petersburg

3rd September 2012: Zenit St Petersburg spend £64m to sign Hulk and Witsel
24th June 2011: Domenico Criscito agrees personal terms with Zenit St Petersburg
24 August 2008:Portuguese international Daniel Miguel Alves Gomes, known as Danny,signs for Zenit St Petersburg for a record 30 million euros

Russian clubs are not usually considered as the big boys of European football, but since 2005 FC Zenit St. Petersburg,owned by Gazprom, the third largest company in the world are trying to be one of the top three clubs in Europe.

Before 2005, FC Zenit St. Petersburg did not have much success, a solitory title in 1984 and the 1999 Russian Cup was all they had to show since 1925. But in Decemember 2005,Gazprom bought a controlling stake in FC Zenit St. Petersburg and the club hasnt looked back since. Dick Advocaat, the Dutch manager was hired in 2006 after a poor start to the league season saw Vlastimil Petržela lose his job and almost the spending started with the high-profile signing of Turkish international Fatih Tekke for €10m.

But the club finished the year in fourth place, which is not enough for a guaranteed UEFA Cup place and the Russian internal transfer record fell twice in December as Zenit bought highly-rated Russia striker Pavel Pogrebnyak from FC Tom Tomsk and then FC Rubin Kazan play maker Alejandro Dominguez for a combined outlay of more than €13m.

In 2008, Zenit won the UEFA Cup by beating Rangers in the final, having claimed the scalps of German giants Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich in the way. And
on 29 August 2008, at the Stade Louis II in Monaco, Zenit defeated Manchester United 2–1 in the UEFA Super Cup, becoming the first Russian side to win the trophy.
In the UEFA Champions League 2008–09 group stage Zenit was grouped with Real Madrid, Juventus and BATE in Group H. Unfortunately the team finished in third place in Group H, behind Juventus and Real Madrid and was unable to progress to the knockout phase of the competition.

Hulk and Axel Witsel

Luciano Spalletti signed a contract with Zenit in December 2009 and went on to win the League in 2010 and 2011 but success in Europe did not arrive.
However the recent signings of Hulk and Axel Witsel raises their status even higher with Hulk claiming  

“The most important thing for me right now is to do well in the Russian league, to take Zenit to first place and to help Zenit get as close as possible to the Champions League,”

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Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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