Dzsudzsak Heads to Dagestan (via Moscow)

Armend Dallku faltolja Dzsudzsák Balázst

Written by James Appell of ITV Football


Any lingering doubts over Balazs Dzsudzsak’s self-confidence were well and truly dispelled this week, as he linked up with his new side Anzhi Makhachkala for the first time since a reported £12.3 million deal took him to Russia from PSV Eindhoven.

The Hungarian trained for the first time with his new team-mates on Tuesday at a summer training camp in Austria, accompanied by reporters from Russia’s major newspapers and sports websites. In the evening, showered and changed, he sat down with a magazine. Not just any magazine, however, but the Hungarian version of Playboy.

“There’s alot of football in my life, I need to relax,” he said. “I rarely read [Playboy]. Naturally, I nearly always look at the photos and then stop. But it’s a good magazine, isn’t it?” It’s that kind of chutzpah – childish adventurism for some, brazen cheek for others – which led Dzsudzsak to turn down a move one of Europe’s premier clubs, and instead opt for a money-spinning move to Russia’s newest billionaire club, Anzhi.

Vast investment from Suleyman Kerimov, a tycoon with a wealth in excess of $5 billion, has catapulted Anzhi from Russian Premier League also-rans to potential challengers for the European spots. Since January, when Kerimov began his association with Anzhi, the club have brought in a clutch of Brazilian internationals, Moroccan Mbark Boussoufa, all topped off by the cherry on the cake – 38-year-old ex-Real Madrid and Inter left-back Roberto Carlos.

The club’s aggressive transfer strategy seems to be working – with the Russian season in its summer break, Anzhi lie in fourth place, above the more illustrious Moscow duo of Spartak and Lokomotiv, and far better than their previous season, which ended with the club just three points off the relegation zone.

Dzsudzsak is the latest addition to the stable of stars, though perhaps he above all others has made onlookers sit up and take notice of Anzhi. Dzsudzsak has previously interested Arsenal, Liverpool and a number of clubs in Germany and Italy, but turned them down for a move which some might argue is motivated purely by the money on offer in Russia. It’s a view Dzsudzsak himself has done little to dispel. “I won’t lie to you, money is obviously important,” he said in an interview with Russia’s sports.ru.

He certainly will be well-paid for his services in Makhachkala – Russia’s income tax rate is a flat 13%, regardless of earnings, and clubs often find ways of rewarding their players that avoids payment of tax. Dzsudzsak may be given a house or a car, for example, as part of his contract – saving him the trouble of spending some of that hard-earned cash (indeed, on Roberto Carlos’s birthday, the Brazilian received a brand new Bugatti Veyron from the club – with presents like that who needs a salary eh?).

He will also avoid having to live in Makhachkala, the capital of the southern Dagestan region which has been blighted by separatist Islamism in the last two decades. Security is a genuine concern in Dagestan – some now consider it more unsafe than neighbouring Chechnya – but Dzsudzsak and his team-mates all live and train in Moscow, flying down to Makhachkala just to play matches.

That will make settling in much more simple. Moscow is a modern, European capital much like any other – though it is bigger, more chaotic, and often more expensive than most.

The language is another issue Dzsudzsak will have to overcome. His mother is a Russian teacher, something which might have given him an advantage had he actually paid attention (“she gave me a few key words, but there are so many that I’ve already forgotten them”). For now he is reliant on a translator. However, with a huge mix nationalities in the Anzhi squad, English is likely to be as much the lingua franca as Russian. Indeed, at training on Tuesday midfielder Aleksandr Prudnikov addressed Dzsudzsak in English. He also likes to banter – “tell him I’m the Russian Ronaldinho,” Prudnikov reportedly asked of the Hungarian’s translator.

It remains to be seen whether Dzsudzsak’s unusual move will give him the career advancement he says he seeks, or whether it will purely serve as a payday. But Anzhi look like a club going places, and given the comforts afforded to the club’s players he will have every chance of settling in. If so, the winger’s only concern will be whether he can get his Hungarian Playboy delivered to Moscow.

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