Europe news

Hulk criticises Zenit supporters

April 1, 2013
By ESPN staff

Zenit St Petersburg forward Hulk has hit out at fans of the club who supported a manifesto calling for a ban on black and gay players.

Hulk
PA PhotosHulk joined Zenit from Porto for £32 million last summer but could already move on from Russia

Luciano Spalletti's side are the only leading Russian club never to have signed an African player, and are based in a city known for strongly nationalist and right-wing attitudes.

In December, Zenit's largest supporters' group, Landscrona, called on the club not to buy any black or gay players in a bid to maintain their "national identity".

Brazil international Hulk, who signed for the club in September, said: "I think those people, those fans, do not care about culture at all. I respect footballers of any skin colour and any sexual orientation.

"Those fans who abuse people of a different colour or gays just do not think at all."

Despite disagreeing with such attitudes, the former Porto man says he does feel safer in Russia than in his homeland.

"That's one very important thing, which I feel here in Russia and which is seriously lacking at home in Brazil: I don't worry for my child or wife when they go outdoors alone," he said.

"Security is a very important part of people's life and I can say that people in Brazil desperately need to improve security."