Mikhail Kerzhakov: “At the beginning of summer I thought about retiring, but suddenly everything changed”
Text: Maria Zolina
Zenit’s goalkeeper spoke to us on the win over Dynamo and his first ever call-up to the national team.
“We thought it would be more difficult, at least I did. We were dominant, but lacking speed a little bit.”
The score was at 0-1 for quite some time, were you nervous that Dynamo could score an equaliser, considering that they had a few dangerous chances?
“When the team is in the lead and you have only 15-20 minutes left, there certainly are worries that any set-piece or ricochet can accidentally become a goal. If that happens, you’ll have to try hard to fix that, and there’s no guarantee that you‘ll be able to score.”
You said that you expected it to be more difficult. In your opinion, Zenit were dominating, they deserved this win and it couldn’t be any other way?
“It could be, but the key is that we were dominant.”
The last match against Orenburg became the 50th clean sheet in your career. This one is the 51st. What is it for you, just nice statistics or every match stays in your memory?
“Getting a clean sheet is always enjoyable. You always set this objective for yourself before the match. It’s a nice bonus when the team wins and you get a clean sheet. I didn’t even know that this game was the 51st, I don’t count them.”
A few days ago you were called up to the Russian national team for the first time in your career. What was your reaction to this?
“I found out a bit earlier as a got a call from Vitaliy Kafanov. I was incredibly happy, because getting your first call-up when you’re 35... I’ve mentioned a few times that in the beginning of summer I thought retiring, but suddenly everything changed. Sometimes life takes wild turns, and I’m very happy.”
Did this call-up give you strength, confidence and motivation to keep going?
“It really did encourage me. I had to think about everything and then make myself keep going forward.”