BAD-RAGAZ /Switzerland/, June 3. /TASS/. Germany’s Soviet-born footballer Roman Neustaedter, who was issued the Russian passport earlier in the week, told TASS on Friday he had several job offers to play for European football clubs, but none from Russia.
The 28-year-old defender is currently playing for German football club Schalke 04 and his contract with the club, signed in 2012, expires on June 30.
"Yes, there are clubs expressing their interest," Neustaedter said in an interview with TASS. "Clubs from Germany and other countries, but not from Russia."
"However, I am not in talks for the moment because I intend to focus on my play in the [Russian] national team and the upcoming Euro Cup," he said.
Asked to estimate his chances of staying with Schalke 04 after the contract expires, Neustaedter said they were "50 on 50."
"I have just heard the news that we have a new head coach, who is Markus Weinzierl from Augsburg," he said. "I have never met him, so I do not know about his plans about me and have no clue about who will stay in the team."
Russian media reports earlier alleged that the country’s titled clubs Zenit St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow expressed their interest in the national team’s new player.
"No, nobody got in touch with me," Neustaedter said commenting on media rumors. "None of the Russian football clubs contacted me."
After he was granted the Russian citizenship earlier this year, the footballer debuted playing for the country’s national team at a friendly match against the Czech Republic in Austria’s Innsbruck on Wednesday. Russia lost the match 1-2.
Neustaedter was born in the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk in 1988. In his early childhood he also lived for some time in Kyrgyzstan and eventually moved to living in Germany in the early 1990s.
The footballer’s father, Pyotr Neustaedter, is remembered by the senior generation of Russian fans as a Soviet top league footballer who played for such clubs as Kairat, Dnepr, Tavria, Spartak (Vladikavkaz), and later for Carlsruhe, Kemnitzer and Mainz. Neustaedter Jr.’s aunt and grandmother live in Russia.
The Russian national football team arrived at the training camp in Switzerland on May 24. Before the start of the European biggest football event, held once every four years, the Russian squad was scheduled to play two friendlies - against the Czech Republic on June 1 and Croatia on June 5 in Monaco.
The 2016 UEFA Euro Cup will be held in France between June 10 and July 10 with matches to be played in 10 different locations, namely in Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Paris, Saint-Denis, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse.
A total of 24 European national teams qualified for the Euro Cup final tournament in 2016, after the contestants’ format, which was used since 1996, was decided to be extended from 16 to 24 teams.
The contesting teams were divided into six groups and Russia was placed into Group B, sharing it with the teams from England, Wales and Slovakia.