Russia captain Igor Denisov has voiced his dismay with Zenit St Petersburg's policy to pay foreign stars such as Hulk and Axel Witsel higher wages than their Russian players.
The 28-year-old midfielder asked for a pay rise after the capture of the Brazil and Belgium internationals, but was demoted to the reserves rather than get the improved deal he was after, much to Denisov's dismay.
"Why would foreigners earn three times more than the best players in the team? That's why I asked for a pay rise. But I was axed by the coach instead," Denisov stated to Sport Express.
"f Hulk and Witsel were at the same level as Messi and Ronaldo it would be fine, but they are not. So why do we have this imbalance in wages then?
"It's not about money, it's about respect. I couldn't even sleep well a few nights in a row waiting for the club's decision."
Denisov then went on to stress that there's no truth in the reports suggesting that the Zenit squad is deliberately making life difficult for their new players.
"Why do people say we don't pass the ball to Hulk too often? We do. We didn't give a warm welcome to him upon his arrival? We did.
"But it's hard to communicate with him and Witsel through interpreters. They are supposed to try talking to us themselves."
Zenit have won only one out of their last six games.