Bad boy Shirokov wins second successive Russian award

Reuters| Last Updated: Dec 26, 2013, 17:45 PM IST

Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Roman Shirokov was named Russia`s Footballer of the Year for a second successive time on Thursday.

The 32-year-old, capped 40 times by Russia, topped the annual poll of sports journalists, conducted by Football Weekly, to add to the award he won in 2012.

"It was really unexpected to win last year but I`m not so surprised this year," said the player known for his aggressive manner on the pitch and frequent arguments with fans and referees.

In May, he was sent off for making an obscene gesture at Zenit fans after scoring in their 3-1 win over FC Volga Nizhny Novgorod and then made another gesture when leaving the pitch.

Shirokov was handed a suspended six-month ban after calling the referee "a clown" following Zenit`s 1-1 draw against Amkar Perm in November. He was also fined 150,000 roubles by the Russian Football Union.

Brazilian striker Hulk, who was instrumental in helping Zenit qualify for the Champions League knockout stage, was second in the vote while Dynamo Moscow striker Alexander Kokorin came third.