Aleksandr Bukharov said he considered joining FC Zenit St Petersburg "a step forward" after completing his long-expected €11m transfer from Russian champions FC Rubin Kazan.
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FC Zenit St Petersburg have signed Russian international striker Aleksandr Bukharov from fellow UEFA Champions League contenders FC Rubin Kazan for a fee reported to be in the region of €11m.
Bukharov joins the Russian Premier League leaders from the second-placed side on a four-year contract, looking to add to the four league goals he has already scored for Rubin this season. Monday's announcement on Zenit's website confirmed the long-anticipated transfer, with Rubin having already bolstered their attack with the signing of Obafemi Martins earlier this month.
"It is difficult to say goodbye," Bukharov said. "I did not expect my departure to be so emotional. I want to thank the fans, the Rubin players and coaches and the president of Tatarstan for their understanding. I spent a lot of time thinking about Zenit's offer but I have to grow and develop. I see this move to St Petersburg as a step forward."
Bukharov had spent the previous five seasons at Rubin, scoring 33 times in 71 league games, including six in their maiden title-winning campaign in 2008 and 16 last season when they successfully defended their Russian crown. The 25-year-old also made his UEFA Champions League debut last term. Bukharov's achievements at club level were rewarded with an international call-up in October when he won his first and so far only Russia cap in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan.
Zenit, who are seven points clear of Rubin after 13 games in the Russian Premier League, finished third last season and will play FC Unirea Urziceni in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League on 27 July and 3 August. Rubin qualify directly for the group stage as Russian champions.