Zhirkov fails to take Abramovich language advice

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The Independent Football

It could take new Chelsea signing Yuri Zhirkov a while before he can communicate with his team mates - because he did not take advice by the club's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich to learn English seriously enough.

The 25-year-old Russian international, who joined the west London club from CSKA Moscow for a reported £18m fee on Monday, said Abramovich had told him to learn English more than three years ago but he just ignored it.

"Abramovich came to our (CSKA) dressing room to congratulate the team on winning the Russian Cup final in May 2006," the left winger was quoted as saying by Russian media.

"Then, he suddenly turned to me and said 'Yuri, start learning English'. I didn't say anything, just smiled. Unfortunately, I still have not learnt the language," he said.

"Now I know I should have taken his advice more seriously, but back then I didn't think I would ever need it for my football career."