Zenit forward Artem Dzyuba has been called up to play for the Russian national football team for the first time since November, when a scandal over an intimate video saw him left out of the squad for several games.
Dzyuba is set to take part in three FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifying games against Malta, Slovenia and Slovakia, after manager Stanislav Cherchesov confirmed his squad on Monday.
In November, Dzyuba – the national team captain and one of the most recognizable footballers in Russia – made headlines when an X-rated video featuring the player pleasuring himself in bed was leaked online.
⚡ В сборную России вызваны два игрока «Рубина» – голкипер Юрий Дюпин и защитник Илья Самошников. А также Артём Дзюба, Александр Головин, Алексей Миранчук… Полный список – в ближайшее время!
— Сборная России (@TeamRussia) March 15, 2021
The 32-year-old was subsequently dropped from the Russian national team for the following three games and was stripped of the captaincy at his club team, Zenit.
Russian manager Cherchesov had said that Dzyuba’s removal from the national squad was not a punishment, but an attempt to let him spend time with his family and let the scandal die down.
Without its captain, Russia’s performances were underwhelming, losing 3-2 to Turkey and 5-0 to Serbia in the UEFA Nations League, as well as posting a 0-0 draw in a friendly against Moldova.