Russian star Yuri Zhirkov became a Chelsea player in the summer of 2009. His transfer to Chelsea was confirmed on July 6, 2009. The Blues paid around £18m to secure his transfer from CSKA Moscow in the Russian top flight thus making him the most expensive Russian footballer at the time. The previous record was held by Andrei Arshavin who left Russian team Zenit Saint Petersburg to sign for Arsenal at the start of 2009 in a deal believed to be around £15m.
Italian tactician Carlo Ancelotti was the Chelsea manager in 2009 and he handed Yuri Zhirkov his debut after the Russian star returned to full fitness after a knee injury. His debut was against West London rivals Queens Park Rangers (QPR) in a League Cup tie played on September 23.Zhirkov made his Champions League debut for Chelsea against FC Porto of Portugal on November 25 and he provided the ammunition for the game’s only goal. Frenchman Nicholas Anelka scored the only goal of the game as Chelsea beat FC Porto 1-0.
Yuri Zhirkov had to wait for several months to make his debut for Chelsea in the Premier League other back of his move from CSKA Moscow in the Russian league. His first Chelsea game in the Premier League was as a substitute for Englishman Joe Cole in the London Derby encounter with West Ham United. The game took place on December 20, 2009.
Zhirkov spent two years at Chelsea before he returned to his native Russia for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £13.2m. Anzhi Makhachkala were his next destination after his time at Chelsea.