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Brazilian Star Hulk Trapped at Zenit St Petersburg by FIFA Regulation

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 2: Hulk of FC Zenit St. Petersburg gestures as he leaves the pitch after recieving an injury during the Russian Football League Championship match between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and FC Rostov at the Petrovsky Stadium on November 2, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Mike Kireev/Epsilon/Getty Images)
Epsilon/Getty Images
Adrian AgiusAnalyst IOctober 4, 2016

Highly-rated Brazilian forward Hulk shocked the footballing world when he decided to shun interest from the elite of Europe and make a move to Russian club Zenit St Petersburg. Following his €40 million transfer, Hulk has only mustered four goals for his new club, and after a fallout with coach Luciano Spalletti, he has made his intentions to leave clear.

According to Goal.com, Hulk's substitution during Zenit's 1-0 win over AC Milan was just the latest in a string of events which have caused unrest between the Brazilian International and Spalletti. In an interview with Premium Calcio (via Goal.com), Hulk revealed his discontent with his current situation:

I feel fine in St Petersburg, my family is fine and my son is fine.

But if the situation with Luciano Spalletti does not resolve itself, I could leave in January. I don't know if Italy would be my destination, but anything can happen.

Spalletti returned the compliments, only compounding suggestions that Hulk is on his way out of the club, saying, "Hulk does and says what he wants. I will have no qualms about replacing him again."

Despite these desires, however, it would seem that even if Hulk wishes to leave Zenit St Petersburg during the January transfer window, FIFA regulation would tell that he is unable to. According to FIFA Regulations pertaining to transfers, a player can only play for a maximum of two clubs for the duration of a season.

Prior to his move to Zenit this year, Hulk played two games for Porto, meaning that any transfer in January would prove invalid. 

According to ESPN, if the Russian league adopted its previous calendar structure, Hulk would've been free to join a club this January due to overlapping transfer windows. However, in attempts to establish the league as a superpower down the track, its calendar has been synchronised with that of the rest of Europe. 

Hulk risks further exclusion from the Zenit squad if he continues to make his discontent with club proceedings clear. Such exclusion could have the potential to jeopardise his position in the Brazilian International team for the time being.

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