Russian left-back Yuri Zhirkov began his professional career at Sparta Tambov before he signed for CSKA Moscow during the winter transfer window in 2004. His debut for CSKA Moscow came during the Russian Super Cup clash with Spartak Moscow and he was able to win his first trophy thanks to a 3-1 victory at the end of the game. His Champions League debut came against Neftchi Baku on July 27, 2004. He also played against Scottish Premiership giants Rangers in the third qualifying round of that Champions League season.
During the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League season, Yuri Zhirkov played in all the six group stage games. He scored the best goal of the season against German team Hamburg on December 6, 2006. Zhirkovwas unable to stop his team from losing almost all their games in Europe during the 2007/08 season. In the following season, Yuri Zhirkov made his European bow against SlavenBelupo of Croatia in a game that CSKA Moscow came from behind to win via a 2-1 scoreline. In their next European game, CSKA Moscow beat Spanish team Deportivo La Coruna 3-0. Zhirkov would later provide assists against French team Nancy and Dutch team Feyenoordbefore finding the back of the net against Lech Poznan of Poland for his third European goal.
In 2009, Yuri Zhirkovplayed three times for CSKA Moscow in European competitions. Two of the three games were against Premier League team Aston Villa and the final game was against Ukrainian team ShaktharDonetsk. He scored during the second game against Villa.The defender joined Chelsea in an £18m deal before the 2009 summer transfer window ended.