1) Andrei Sergeyevich Arshavin was born in St Petersburg – then called Leningrad – on May 29, 1981.
2) As a schoolboy, he showed great promise as a drafts player before turning his full attention to football.
3) While at university he wrote a thesis on sportswear production, but dismissed his decision to study for a diploma in fashion design as an opportunity to meet girls.
4) As a boy, he fell in love with the Barcelona team coached by Holland legend Johan Cruyff and has previously said moving to the Nou Camp would be his dream.
5) Arshavin made his debut for Zenit St Petersburg when coming on as a substitute against Bradford at Valley Parade on August 2, 2000. The Russians won the InterToto Cup semi-final match 3-0.
6) He scored 71 goals in 310 games for Zenit, while for Russia he has scored 15 in 41 caps. With Zenit he won the Russian Premier League title in 2007, the League Cup in 2003, and the UEFA Cup, European Super Cup and Russian Super Cup in 2008.
7) Individually he has won a number of player of the year awards and was ranked the sixth best player in the world in 2008 for the Ballon d’Or – won by Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.
8 ) Arshavin once stood for local elections in St Petersburg for Vladimir Putin’s United Russia but withdrew his candidacy before a vote was cast.
9) The Communists of St Petersburg group accused Arshavin of being a ‘traitor’ for his desire to leave the country. Berating him for ‘putting up his body for sale for greedy Western clubs’, they warned: ‘If you want to sign for any Western team you will lose your spiritual connection to Mother Russia and Russians will never forgive you.’
10) Arshavin may be on the verge of leaving Zenit, but he stares out from the April page of the club’s official 2009 calendar.