Hulk gets a new contract at Zenit St. Petersburg

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One of the most overrated well-known Brazilian strikers has got himself a new contract in Russia despite often finding himself the target of transfer rumors to one of the top five European leagues.

Zenit St. Petersburg has re-signed 28-year-old striker Hulk to a four year extension, pushing his contract through the summer of 2019. His previous deal was worth a reported $8 million a year and was set to expire in the summer of 2017.

He has eight goals in 16 matches so far this year, including five in the club’s first five matches that helped Zenit win its first eight matches of the season, a stretch that has placed them on top of the Russian Premier League table. He has just three goals in his last 11 matches though, and with the Russian league on its customary three-month hiatus, he hasn’t scored a goal since November 29.

Hulk made his way from Porto to Zenit in 2012, and is now being coached by his former manager Andre Villas-Boas. He played a large role for Brazil in the 2014 World Cup after Neymar went down, but was entirely underwhelming (thankfully for him, Fred was even worse and took much of the criticism/spotlight away from Hulk’s poor play). He’s been consistently poor on the big stage, with just 3 goals in 10 Champions League matches this year across qualification matches and group stage play, and has yet to test himself in any of the big five leagues.

It’s interesting timing for Zenit to extend its star attacker, with the value of the ruble having plummeted in the last 12 months, causing financial troubles for many clubs across the country. Even the national team is barely able to pay manager Fabio Capello, who has a clause in his contract that dictates he be paid in rubles but at the exchange rate to the pound. With Hulk’s previous contract good for two more years, it’s surprising the club would be willing to give him a fresh deal at this point.