FC Spartak Moskva's Yegor Titov has replaced Viktor Onopko as Russia captain, new head coach Valeri Gazzaev said today after announcing a 29-man squad to face Sweden in a friendly this week.
Titov named skipper
However, the new captain will miss the game with an injury, meaning that on this occasion the captain's armband will pass to vice-captain Alexey Smertin of FC Girondins de Bordeaux.
Dropped by Gazzaev
Viktor Onopko along with Alexander Mostovoi and Valery Karpin are among the veterans dropped by Gazzaev from the new-look squad which will take to the Lokomotiv stadium to face the Swedes on 21 August. Marat Izmailov is in the squad but not fit to play.
Onopko, who has won 100 caps for Russia, will be officially honoured for that achievement, as well as seven years as the country's captain, before the match. "Onopko deserves this more than anybody," Gazzaev said. "Not too many players in Europe can boast the same achievement."
Never can say goodbye
Onopko himself, however, has insisted he is not too keen to say goodbye to international football just yet. "I am asking you not to take this honour as a last goodbye," the 32-year-old told uefa.com. "I do not want to leave the national team. I will play to prove I am still capable of being in the national team." It is yet to be announced whether Onopko will actually appear in the Russian squad for Wednesday's game.
Seven will miss out
Gazzaev, the new head coach of the side, also confirmed that he will pick 22 players out of the 29-man party on the day of the match itself.
Nigmatullin, Ovchinnikov, Chichkin, Dayev, Evsikov, Solomatin, Ignashevitch, Nizhegorodov, Sennikov, Kovtun, Olenikov, Gusev, Semak, Yanovsky, Izmailov, Loskov, Karyaka, Aldonin, Arshavin, Semshov, Smertin, Titov, Khokhlov, Beschastnykh, Sytchev, Kerzhakov, Laktionov, Pimenov, Popov
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