The pride of St. Petersburg and Russia’s best-supported club, FC Zenit are one of the city’s crown jewels. Playing at the brand-new mega stadium on Krestovsky Ostrov and managed by former Manchester City and Inter Milan boss, Roberto Mancini, Zenit are pushing to be not only Russia’s undisputed top club, but also one of European football’s new giants.
Backed by the St. Petersburg-based international gas giant, Gazprom, Zenit have the wealth to attract the top names of world football and the club currently boasts five Argentinian internationals in their line-up. The likes of Leonardo Paredes, (who joined from Seria A side Roma), Sebastian Driussi and Emiliano Rigoni all came to the blue-white-sky blues for eye-watering sums in the summer of 2017 and have helped propel Zenit to the top of the Russian Premier League. Many of Russia’s most well-known footballing names also ply their trade in the Northern Capital. Stars such as Alexander Kokorin, Yuri Zhirkov, Artem Dzuba and Oleg Shatov call St. Petersburg home and lead the line for the Russian national team as well as our St. Petersburg club. They are supported at the back by former Chelsea defender and Serbian captain Branislav Ivanovic, Italy’s Domenico Criscito, who is also club captain, and Russia’s number 1 goalkeeper Andrey Lunev, who has made the team’s fanatical supporters fall in love with him since transferring to the cultural capital in early 2017.
You’ll see supporting Zenit in St. Petersburg is easy! The blue-white-sky blues have numerous club stores dotted around the city with the club’s flagship store being located at 20 Nevsky Prospect. It is undoubtedly one of the best places to buy yourself a team shirt or matchday ticket and they also have many items from the club’s history on display in the store. There you can see some of Zenit’s numerous trophies, old match-worn shirts and even the player’s footprints, all great items to get a selfie with!
If you can’t get to the club shop or want to buy your tickets from home, Zenit have an English-language website where you can purchase tickets directly without any additional cost. The club are supported worldwide and have the biggest fanbase of any Russian club around the globe. This being the case the club have created official websites in 10 additional languages other than English and Russia. These including Chinese, German, Polish, Portuguese and even Danish! Head on over to en.fc-zenit.ru for all the latest Zenit news, to buy tickets and to find the links to the club’s foreign-language sites.
One of the most attractive things about going to support the five-time champions of Russia is their amazing new stadium. Officially called Stadium St. Petersburg, it was designed by legendary Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa and will host the FIFA 2018 World Cup’s opening match as well as one of the tournament’s semi-finals, where we will hopefully be able to watch Team Russia reach the biggest game in world football!
The billion-dollar stadium is arguably the best in Europe and has a regular attendance of over 50,000 fans for Zenit’s home games! The controversial space-ship looking arena opened earlier this year and has a moveable pitch to allow pop concerts and other sporting events to take place, it also can brag about its state-of the art central heating and retractable roof, which means you can watch Zenit play in luxurious comfort and without the notorious Russian winter affecting your enjoyment. Amazingly, tickets for Zenit’s home matches are some of the cheapest in Europe for a major club and start from as little as 200 rubles! The stadium has some amazing VIP facilities too, but these will set you back a little more.
It’s easy to get to Stadium St. Petersburg. Just take the metro’s purple line out to Krestovsky Ostrov (three stops north of Admiralteiskaya) and walk straight through the beautiful park situated in front of the metro station, that way you can’t miss this architectural marvel.
By the way, if you are not a soccer fan but still want to experience some authentic Russian sport while you are in St. Petersburg, Zenit also have one of Russia’s most successful basketball sides! The basketball team finished as runners-up in the VTB United League last season and are currently competing in the 7DAYS EuroCup against the continent’s finest teams. The squad includes many American former-NBA stars and they are currently battling with Moscow’s CSKA for dominance within Russian basketball. Zenit basketball takes place at the Yubiliney Sports Palace at Metro Sportivnaya and you can find out more about the team and their upcoming fixtures here - enbasket.fc-zenit.ru.
As for the football Zenit have just one more home match before the winter break. Ural from Ekaterinburg will be the final visitor in the Russian Football Premier League on 2nd December.