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Football star exiled from national team after opting to stay in Russia

Norway’s Mathias Normann is strongly linked with a move to Dynamo Moscow

Norwegian footballer Mathias Normann has been informed that he will not be considered for selection for his country’s national team after opting for a move to a new Russian club.

Normann, 26, is set to go on loan from Rostov to Russian Premier League rivals Dynamo Moscow, according to reports.

The proposed transfer has not gone down well back in Norway, where officials have been angered by the midfielder’s decision to remain in Russia.

A statement from the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) on Monday stated that national team manager Stale Solbakken had informed Normann that he would be excluded from consideration for the next squad, at the very least.

NFF president Lise Klaveness added: “Basically, it is not the federation’s role to have an opinion on the national team players’ club selection, but we are now in an extraordinary situation.

“The whole of Norwegian and European football agrees to put joint pressure on Russia as a belligerent party, which has also used positions of power in sport very actively.

“All Russian teams are banned from international sports competitions. Stale and I agree that Normann cannot represent Norway when he plays for a new Russian club.”

Capped 12 times by his country, Normann spent last season on loan at English team Norwich City during a Premier League campaign which ended in relegation.

He had been linked with a loan move to Lecce in Italy in August before the move fell through.

Speaking to Norwegian broadcaster TV2, Normann explained his circumstances and stressed that sport should remain outside politics – even though he does not condone Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

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Rybus will not add to his 66 Poland caps. © Pedro Salado / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images
Polish footballer discusses ostracism after Russia decision

“It is quite simple. As of today, it is the best sporting opportunity I have,” said Normann, who had previously appeared to rule out a return to Russia.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career, it’s that you don’t mix politics and football. I’m going there to play football and I’m happy about that…  

“There has been interest from all around, but this was the best sporting opportunity I had.

“I would prefer not to return to Rostov, which is closer to the border with Ukraine. It is safer and a much bigger club in Moscow,” added the star, who is valued at €10 million ($9.95 million) by Transfermarkt.

Normann is not the only footballer to face a ban from his country’s national team after opting to remain in Russia.

Polish defender Maciej Rybus suffered the same fate after signing for Spartak Moscow ahead of the new season, and the 33-year-old will not be considered for selection for the 2022 World Cup squad.

In other sports, the ice hockey federations of Latvia, Sweden, and Finland have all said that players who continue to compete in the Russia-based KHL will no longer feature for the national team.

https://ift.tt/Ei1BjtY 06, 2022 at 03:41PM
from RT – Daily news

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