FC Levadia Tallinn's Nikita Andreev hopes another shock result against Wisła Kraków can reignite his dream of a career in Russia, saying: "I am a Zenit fan but I'd welcome offers from other clubs."
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FC Levadia Tallinn striker Nikita Andreev hopes another shock result against Wisła Kraków can reignite his dream of a career in Russia, telling uefa.com: "I am a Zenit fan but would welcome offers from other clubs."
On the brink
Having first made his mark in a UEFA Cup tie against FC Twente two years ago, the former Russian Under-19 international scored Levadia's opener in an attention-grabbing 1-1 draw at Wisła in last week's UEFA Champions League second qualifying round opener. With the Polish champions now heading to Estonia for the decider on Wednesday, his side are on the brink of a major upset.
With 17 goals in 16 Estonian league fixtures this season, the 20-year-old Andreev is in fine scoring form and eager to prove his worth at a higher level. "I have been wanting to leave and play in a stronger league for a long time," he conceded. "I received some interest in the past but for now I have to be content with what I have. I have to keep scoring and prove myself here to have a chance to move on."
A trial at PFC CSKA Moskva in January 2007 represented a great chance for the striker, but he failed to prove his worth. "I played two matches for them in the Commonwealth Cup and trained with the first team," he recalled. "It was fantastic to rub shoulders with great players. I was upset at first when I missed out but now I have to think about the future. You can't turn back the clock; I have to move on."
However, there is still a sense that Andreev has been short-changed. A Russian citizen, despite being born in Narva, Estonia, the striker earned his place in the Russian U19 team, but feels that geography deprived him of a chance to progress further. "It is obvious that players from Russian clubs stand a much better chance than me, playing in Estonia," he said.
His commitment to Russia, however, remains devout. The FC Zenit St. Petersburg fan has persistently refused offers to play for Estonia, explaining: "I come from a Russian family and am a patriotic Russian. Since I was a child I have dreamed of playing in the Russian league and never intended to play for Estonia. I am a Zenit fan but would welcome offers from other clubs."
'No matter where'
Interested parties would surely be impressed by his commitment. "I love playing football, no matter where; in the yard, on the beach. I have not lost my desire – it has become even stronger." If he can prove again that he has the ability to cut it at a higher level, then his faith in his talent, his Russian roots and the game he loves may yet be rewarded.