Zenit captain upset with Hulk's extravagant wages
Zenit St. Petersburg striker Hulk has been the focus of a protest by team captain Igor Denisov due to the Brazilian’s extravagant wages.
The Russian midfielder was dropped from Saturday's 2-2 league draw against Krylya Sovetov for issuing a pay rise ultimatum.
Denisov reportedly questioned whether Hulk and Axel Witsel, who were bought for €40 million each during the summer, deserved to earn triple the salaries of some other players at the club.
He said: "We’ve definitely bought good players who will certainly help Zenit. But are they really that much stronger than the current players that they get three times as much?
"Zenit already have great players who have won as many titles as the new guys. I’d understand it if [Lionel] Messi or [Andres] Iniesta came to us, they probably deserve any sum.
"Now we are unbalanced in the team and I had tried to explain that to our management. The principles of how the club is run are the most important as well as the respect of the Russian players, especially us.
"In no top European league will you see that foreign players get preferential treatment, just the opposite, they must be head and shoulders above the locals to make the team."
The national team captain also said he would try to find another club in January's transfer window if the dispute remains unresolved.
He added: "I want to make it clear, I love this club and I don't see myself playing anywhere else, but I wouldn't want to end my career at 28.
"I have a buy-out clause in my contract which is not that big. One thing I can say for sure that I would never play for a club that only fights for survival."
Denisov is no stranger to controversy, having refused an invitation to join the national team for the Euro 2008 finals by then Russia coach Guus Hiddink after being upset at being omitted from the initial squad.
Zenit have failed to win a game since, suffering a 2-0 home defeat by Chechen side Terek Grozny before being crushed by Spanish club Malaga 3-0 in their Champions League opener last week.