John Ford
Wed 25 June 2008

Russian star looking to complete 'dream' move this Summer

Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin has claimed that a move to Spanish giants Barcelona would be the culmination of everything he has worked for in his career.

After being suspended for Russia's opening two games of Euro 2008, Arshavin has set their campaign alight with a string of impressive performances for one of the tournaments dark-horses which has led Guus Hiddink's side to within one victory of a showdown with either Germany or Turkey in the final.

Arshavin was instrumental in the sides extra-time demolition of Holland in the quarter-finals. During normal time the Zenit St Petersburg playmaker showed brilliance on the ball, dancing round tackle after tackle and sending in delightful crosses for his team-mates which only failed to give Russia the lead due to squandered chances and World class stops from Edwin Van Der Sar in the Dutch goal.

It was in injury time where he really made his mark though. After Ruud Van Nistelrooy had cancelled out Roman Pavlyuchenko's earlier strike taking the game into a further added 30 minutes many must have thought that this would be the time where the Dutch - apparently a fresh vibrant side under Marco Van Basten - would put their foot on the gas and take the game to their Eastern-European counterparts.

This was not to be however as that man Arshavin time and time again dazzled and dashed his way towards the Dutch box, teasing Andre Ooijer who was struggling to cope with the sheer quality which his opponent was delivering throughout.

The breakthrough came after another battle was lost by Ooijer and Arshavin crossed a delicious ball to the back post which deceived Van Der Sar and Dmitri Torbinski poked in from close range.

Arshavin wasn't ready to give up just there and four minutes from time he sealed the game for his side, latching on to a throw-in before firing low past Van Der Sar, sparking wild celebrations on the Russian bench and stands.

After capitulating to Spain - their semi-final opponents - without Arshavin leading their attack, the betting on Russia to go all the way will surely intensify due to his return.

The 27-year-old has already been generating interest from the top European leagues with Chelsea, Arsenal and Barcelona showing signs that an offer could well be winging it's way to Petersburg in the coming months and current manager Dick Advocaat is not surprised one jot.
Advocaat told a press conference,

"He's just turned 27, he's very quick, he has an excellent shot on both legs and besides scoring he can also provide for other players."

The player himself has pointed to just one side which he has his heart set on though. He said,
"Barcelona are my dream. I have supported Barcelona all my life, let's see how the situation unfolds. For now I can't say anything for sure."

Right now though it's all about the Euro's for many players but after the tournament Arshavin and many of the other top talents across the globe will be the focus of football betting over this Summer.

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