Football first came into my life when I was 3 years old. My dad told me that I was sitting in our little room, which was just 8 or 9 square meters, and looking at books. My dad threw me a ball, and I looked at it, threw down my book, picked up the ball, and laughed.
I don`t care where I play. I just want to be on the field. When I lived in boarding school, my coach Vladimir Petrov put me on the field as a central defender. Afterwards, a different coach, Sergey Romaniv, shifted me to a position behind the strikers. I started playing central striker only when I moved to Svetogorets. There Kazachyonok, as well as later Morozov, prohibited me to go back to help in defense.
I even played one game in goal as a youth player. And I didn`t give up any goals, by the way.
I never wear a tuxedo. I`m not a narcissist. And there haven`t been any events that I had to go to in a tuxedo. If I have to look civilized, then I wear a suit. My tail suit is hanging in the closet. I don`t feel comfortable in those kinds of things.
After I went to play in the World Cup in Japan I changed my diet completely. I stopped eating canned food and Russian pelmeny, which I ate enough of in boarding school, and switched to healthy food. For example, my mom`s cooking. Or I ate the food that was cooked at the Zenit practice facility. I stopped eating dry food on the street. One case of gastritis was enough for me.
The World Cup changed me in the way I play as well. I become more confident, I felt like an important link in the team, and became more responsible for the result of our matches. I didn`t change at all as an individual though. That`s what the people close to me say, and I can trust them. I would definitely like to just remain a simple guy, Sasha Kerzhakov.
I think it`s wrong that my wife is studying to be a marketer. The whole country is full of marketers now.
I don`t like it when a woman works if she gets married. The husband should provide for the family. Maybe I`m really traditional.
I don`t try and tell my brother what to do, even though I`m five years older than him. If he doesn`t ask me for help, then it`s not right for me to tell him what to do. He`s an adult.
If I`m offered to take a penalty against Misha in an official match I won`t agree to do it.
I left home when I was 11 years old. And I`ll be thankful to my parents forever that it happened that way. I grew up in an autonomous way.
I got one of my best lessons from Yury Morozov. Once he called me to him and said that if I don`t score in the next match, then he`ll send me down to the reserve team. We had an away match – I don`t remember who we played – and I didn`t score, but he kept me in the starting team anyway. And in the next match, against Spartak, I scored. That trainer was an iron man.
Petrzela cured me from my star syndrome. Let`s say that. He`ll be happy to hear it. And if he`s happy to hear it, then I`m happy to him, you see? I always remember Petrzela in a good way. We played really well when he was our coach.
Back in those days I went to practice in an “Our name is Zenit” t-shirt. I wasn`t trying to say anything with the shirt. Nobody tried to spy on what you did then. Now I`ve got the shirt at home. I don`t wear it or train in it. I could get fined for that.
I don`t often drink beer, or alcohol in general. I don`t use hard drinks. I like the way they make beer in the restaurant on Krestovsky Island. I`m not going to name the place.
My wife doesn`t like football. She just watches the matches that I play in. But my father watches all the matches, and cares a lot. He criticizes a lot. His opinion is one of the most important to me. As for my daughter, I wouldn`t like her to be involved in professional sports. After all, everybody knows that all professional sportsmen are a little crazy. I don`t want my child to be one of them. It will be better when she grows up a little, does gymnastics, and watches football on TV. I`m not a supporter of women`s football.
I`m a really quick-tempered person by nature, but I calm down quickly. I wouldn`t say that I became such a hothead in Spain as the local machos are. I think I became more free, more calm there.
A man`s beauty is not in his appearance. I think that if I was able to win over my wife, then I must be at least a little bit good-looking. But Masha says that she felt real male strength in me, and that was the key for her.
I could have stayed in Zenit, and I would have received two times more than before. That offer was made to me. In fact in I got that offer even after I stopped making the starting side every match. But I didn`t want to stay. I was offered a really big salary by one Moscow team too. In Sevilla I got less money than I received in Zenit. And I was happy about that. I felt like a footballer, not a financier. I had enough to live on.
I`m not saying that I`m an altruist. Money solves a lot of problems. Ever since I started playing on a professional level, I`ve always felt like I had enough money. To be a happy person you can`t feel that any of the people around you are in need. That`s the most important thing - when you understand that the people close to you have what they need.
I think the relation to Arshavin in Zenit was different than it was to me. He played in the team for three years more than I did. I never talked to Andrey about his move to Arsenal. What`s the point of giving advice to a person who`s older than you? And we never talked too much together, to be honest.
I never hid the fact that in Russia I want to play only for Zenit. It turned out that I couldn`t return directly from Sevilla to Petersburg, for a number of reasons. But everybody knew how I felt about Zenit. Including the people in Dynamo Moscow, where I played.
It wasn`t hard to feel comfortable playing for Zenit again. I really wanted that. I didn`t need much time to adapt to the team, because a lot of the guys who I used to play with are still here. I`m thankful to the fans who always supported me, whatever team I played for. They love me, and I try to love them back.
When the fans shout our Sa-sha Kerzhakov, it`s fantastic for me. That`s when I fell like it`s worth it to play football. Thanks to the fans who support me so well. And to the whole team. I get so much adrenalin, and emotions give me more strength, and I feel more energy.
I really want to play consistently. That`s what`s most important to me. I would prefer to play every game than to sit on the bench, wait for my chance, and go the field from time to time. Of course the coach decides who goes on the field, but I`ll be honest: I`m not ready to sit on the bench.
It`s just one step from love to hate for the fans. And footballers have to think about each step they take, or else they can come to regret it. I think that long-term contracts should be offered only to those players who have played for a long time in the same club.
Nobody has scored more goals than I have in the history of Zenit. I`m really happy about that. And so are my loved ones. I think they`re even happier than I am about that record. My father, in particular, is really happy. He played pretty well when he was younger. My brother Mikhail and I are indebted to our father for our love of football.
I bought a new car, an Audi Q7. I like big, spacious cars. My grandmother lives in the Tver Region. Now it`s a lot easier to drive to her. There`s room for my daughter, and for the jars with jam that we take home.
I usually tell my daughter fairy tales before she goes to sleep. I thought up one of them myself. The main character is the moon, which gets mad at a little girl because she won`t go to sleep. The moon takes her blanket and pillow. But when the girl does agree to lay down in bed, the moon returns her blanket to her.