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Arshavin can handle the attention: Hiddink

SoccerNews in European Championships 25 Jun 2008

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Russia forward Andrei Arshavin is well up to handling all the interest from media and clubs triggered by his starring role in his country’s journey to the Euro 2008 semi-finals, coach Guus Hiddink stressed on Wednesday.

Arshavin, who has made such an impression in Russia’s final group game against Sweden and the quarter-final win over Holland, wants to leave his club Zenit St Petersburg for either England or Spain.

Barcelona, his boyhood club, and Arsenal are among those who reportedly have his name on their summer shopping lists.

Hiddink, asked on the eve of the last four clash with Spain whether all the attention was distracting Arshavin, shook his head and replied: “Not at all, it’s good for him.

“Every tournament needs its attractive teams, and in those you get outstanding players and he is one of them.

“Young kids like to have a role model and he’s the kind of player that attracts attention.

“But he can deal with it very well.”

Hiddink said the interest shown in Arshavin and his colleagues could only be positive for Russian football.

“Looking at all the Russian and international media and all the photographers at this press conference suggests to me that football is very alive in the world and Russian football is coming alive,” he said at the press conference at the Ernst Happel stadium.

“This has been shown recently when Zenit St Petersburg won the UEFA Cup beating good teams from the Bundesliga and Spain and then Rangers in the final.

“And now it’s the national team’s turn.”

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