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Football | Europe

Hulk © Action Images

Hulk makes peace with Zenit



Zenit Saint Petersburg's big-money Brazilian signing Hulk has made his peace with the club after threatening to leave following an early substitution last week, he said in an interview on Monday.

Zenit's Italian manager Luciano Spalletti brought off Hulk with 10 minutes to go in the Champions League clash against AC Milan, prompting him to threaten to leave in the new year.

But Hulk told the Sport Express daily that such reactions were just normal behaviour for a passionate player who wanted to do the best for his team.

"I play and train not just for myself but for the team. I think the desire to play until the final whistle is natural for a footballer," he said.

"I understand that the trainer has a right to a substitution but I was angry that I could not help my teammates and I got annoyed," said Hulk.

He said he had talked over the issue with Spalletti in the dressing room and the problem was now closed.

"There is no need to make mountains out of molehills."

"If I behaved badly then I am ready to ask my teammates for forgiveness," Hulk added.

Hulk, 26, arrived at Zenit in September on a reported transfer of €60 million from Porto to spearhead the club's European ambitions but his high salary sparked a rebellion among Russian players that has only just been resolved.

To the chagrin of their owners, Russian gas giant Gazprom, Zenit have been knocked out of the Champions League. But their victory against Milan gave them a pass into the Europa League.

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