Brazilian midfielder “Zenith” Claudinho and Malcolm can become citizens of Russia

© / Alexey DanichevZenit players Claudinho and Malcolm (left to right)

Zenith players Claudinho and Malcolm (left to right) - 1920, 09/19/2022

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© / Mikhail KireevAri

Ari - 1920, 09/18/2022

© RFSRussian national team player Mario Fernandez

© / Alexey FilippovZenit players Claudinho (scorer) and Malcolm (right)

Zenit players Claudinho (goalscorer) and Malcolm (right) - 1920, 09/18/2022

With the light hand of insider Ivan Karpov, the news that Zenit players Claudinho and Malcolm have begun the process of obtaining Russian passports has become one of the most discussed in our football community. Even Dynamo’s complaints about Sergei Karasev’s refereeing and Sergei Yuran’s employment problems faded into the background. Neither the players themselves, nor their agent, nor Zenit, nor the press service of the passport office of the Petrogradsky district of St. Petersburg comment on this information. Although its reliability is highly questionable.
First of all, because Claudinho and Malcolm, as well as Zenit, getting a Russian passport does not give legionnaires anything. It is not worth considering the naturalization of the Brazilians as an opportunity to strengthen the Russian national team after the end of the ban imposed by FIFA and UEFA. This is not the case of Marinato Guilherme and Mario Fernandez, not to mention Ari, who obtained citizenship by marrying a Russian woman.

© / Mikhail KireevAri

Ari - 1920, 09/18/2022

Ari
The Lokomotiv goalkeeper, who happened to be in Moscow in 2007, received a Russian passport seven years later. They designed it so that the goalkeeper was not considered a legionnaire. In 2016, Guilherme was called up to the Russian national team, becoming the first naturalized player from far abroad in its composition. The Brazilian was played for the youth team of his country, but was not involved in the national team.
The ex-defender of CSKA, who officially suspended his career, has a slightly different story. He played one friendly match for Brazil. They were going to call him to the official one, but the coaching staff of the Russian national team and the leadership of the RFU turned out to be quicker. The five years of Mario’s stay in our country, which were necessary for playing for the national team, were just expiring, and in July 2016, Fernandez was granted citizenship by decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the fall of 2017, he made his debut as part of the team of Stanislav Cherchesov.

© RFSRussian national team player Mario Fernandez

Russian national team player Mario Fernandez
Claudinho and Malcolm are not played for the Brazilian national team, but there is one important nuance. They won the “gold” of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and participation in the final of the Olympic tournament automatically excludes the change of football citizenship. For the same reason, the Russian Olympic champion defender Douglas Santos from Zenit will not help the Russian team either. Like the soldier Bruno Fuchs, who became the Olympic champion a year ago. Although his coaching staff of the Russian national team can hardly be considered as a reinforcement.
Perhaps Zenit needs to issue Russian passports to its leading legionnaires in order to free up two more positions for new foreigners? This version does not stand up to scrutiny. Firstly, according to the current regulations, a player who cannot be used in the Russian national team will still be considered a legionnaire. Secondly, with the current limit (13 foreigners, not counting the players from Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, in the application and 8 on the field), why do we need two more? In the RPL, even with six legionnaires as part of Zenit, it rolls everyone out, but there is no limit in European competition. At least 11 foreigners expose, as the Moldavian “Sheriff” does!
Talk about the desire to reduce the tax burden is also unfounded. Russian tax residents pay the same regardless of their passport. The main thing is to be at the workplace in our country for a certain amount of time. When Zenit parted ways with Luciano Spalletti, they did not terminate the contract. They hoped that the Italian specialist would be bored without work and would terminate it himself without paying a penalty. Only Signor Spalletti had other plans. He flew to St. Petersburg, went to museums, dined at his favorite restaurants, and did not even look at the stadium and the base. He calculated exactly how many days the visit should last in order to pay taxes at the Russian rate. I waited until the contract expired, and only after that did I get a job in Series A.

© / Alexey FilippovZenit players Claudinho (scorer) and Malcolm (right)

Zenit players Claudinho (goalscorer) and Malcolm (right) - 1920, 09/18/2022

Zenit players Claudinho (scorer) and Malcolm (right)
Applying for a Russian passport in a simplified manner is not a problem for Claudinho and Malcolm. They don’t even have to take an exam for knowledge of the Russian language. Such masters of big-time sports are issued documents by a special decree of the president as professionals who cannot be found in their native country. Another thing is that there is no real meaning in this.
Unless, perhaps, to demonstrate the indestructible friendship of the Russian and Brazilian peoples as opposed to sanctions from the collective West. It is no coincidence that deputy Roman Teryushkov, who is passionately promoting alternative sports associations based on the BRICS and SCO countries, has already supported this idea. Or maybe Claudinho, and especially Malcolm, have already thought about retirement? In Russia, taking into account deductions from their earnings to the pension fund, old age will be more secure than in Brazil.
Although almost all Brazilian legionnaires, even those who have received a Russian passport, fly home after completing their careers. The only exception is Zenit coach William de Oliveira, who, by the way, also applies for Russian citizenship. He absolutely deserved it. And he works in our country, and speaks Russian almost without an accent.

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