With UEFA EURO 2012 on the horizon, Roman Pavlyuchenko told UEFA.com that the time was right to move back to Russia, but he has no regrets about his stay in London.
Pavlyuchenko was the second Russian international to depart the English Premier League for his homeland in the last week, following Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's move from Everton FC to FC Spartak Moskva. The 30-year-old striker finalised his moved to FC Lokomotiv Moskva today, bringing an end to his three-and-a-half year association with Tottenham Hotspur FC.
"All in all, I made the right choice to move to England," said Pavlyuchenko, who has signed a contract at Lokomotiv until summer 2015. "
I played in a strong league, enjoyed the matches in which I participated and scored many important goals. I grew up professionally. To be honest, all the decisions I've made in my career have been right, including my latest move to Lokomotiv."
In Pavlyuchenko's mind, the London experience has changed him for the better. "When you talk to English people you adjust to their way, and fit in with them better. In recent years I've learned a lot in terms of trusting people and my attitude towards them. In England people enjoy their lives but they respect each other. When I come to Russia I feel the difference."
Russia national coach Dick Advocaat has been quick to support Pavlyuchenko's decision to join the Railwaymen. "This will help all parties – Roman, his new club and the national team," the Dutchman said. Sentiments to which Pavlyuchenko added: "I totally agree. The EURO is around the corner and I must have match practice. I could stay in London and do a non-serious job. But I have played regular football from the age of seven and I also want to play now. My family and relatives all decided that this move can only benefit us."
Pavlyuchenko scored 89 goals in 189 matches for Spartak before his move to Spurs. He appreciates that not all Spartak fans will understand his move to Lokomotiv, despite the fact that the two clubs have never been bitter rivals. "I think there are people who will boo me, write negative banners and write a lot about the situation," he said. "But I will stick to it. I am ready for anything and I'm sure that normal people will understand me. This is our job: today you are here, tomorrow there."
Bilyaletdinov became the first former Loko player to move to the most popular side in Russia, though there are a good number of Spartak old boys at Pavlyuchenko's new club, such as Dmitri Torbinski, Dmitri Sychev and Roman Shishkin. "I am very happy that Roman is with us," Shishkin told UEFA.com. "
He is a great goalscorer with a good shot and technique. I hope he will score a lot of goals and become an important player for us."
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