Veteran left-back Yuri Zhirkov spent a few years at Chelsea before returning to the Russian Premier League to continue his playing career. The Russian international signed for Chelsea in July 2009 thus making him the most expensive Russian player at the time ahead of Andrei Arshavin.Chelsea paid £18m to sign Yuri Zhirkov from CSKA Moscow, while Arsenal had paid £15m to sign Andrei Arshavinsix months before Zhirkov became a Premier League footballer.
Yuri Zhirkov spent a lot of times on the sidelines during his two-year spell at Chelsea. His debut for the West London club came in the League Cup clash with city rivals Queens Park Rangers (QPR) in September 2009. He suffered a knee injury in the opening weeks of his debut season as a Chelsea player and that affected his minutes. Zhirkov didn’t make an appearance in the Premier League until December 2009 thanks in part to the abovementioned knee injury.
While he was a Chelsea player, Yuri Zhirkov won two major honours namely the 2009/10 Premier League title and the 2009/10 FA Cup title.
Zhirkov became a regular in the Chelsea team on the Premier League scene during the final months of the 2009/10 season due to the long-term injury to first choice left-back Ashley Cole. He was an efficient performer at left-back on a consistent basis as Chelsea sealed a third Premier League title in the final weeks of the season under Italian tactician Carlo Ancelotti.
Zhirkov and Chelsea added the FA Cup title to their Premier League title thanks to the slim victory over Portsmouth in the final. Didier Drogba scored the only goal of the game as the Blues sealeda 1-0 win over Pompey. His goal came just before the hour mark.
Yuri Zhirkov returned to his native Russia after two seasons at Chelsea. Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala paid around £13m to sign him from Chelsea in 2011.