Vladimir Putin grants Russian citizenship to FC Schalke footballer

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Moscow, May 26: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to meet a request from Soviet Union-born football player Roman Neustaedter for granting him Russian citizenship. The decree was published on the official portal of legal information.

Midfielder Roman Neustaedter earlier arrived in Moscow on Wednesday and joined the Russian national squad for a period of training ahead of the European Football Cup finals in France, reports Tass.

Bayern's Dante of Brazil, center, Schalke's Jermaine Jones of the U.S., left, and Roman Neustaedter in a goal mouth melee during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and FC Schalke in Munich, Germany March 1. 2014.

Neustaedter was born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine in 1988. He moved to Germany in the first half of the 1990s. His father, Pyotr Neustaedter, is remembered by the senior generation of Russian fans as a Soviet top league footballer who played for such clubs as Kairat, Dnepr, Tavria, Spartak (Vladikavkaz), and later for Carlsruhe, Kemnitzer and Mainz. Neustaedter Jr.'s aunt and grandmother live in Russia.

Roman Neustaedter has played for Schalke since 2012. Previously he appeared in the line-up of Mainz and Borussia Moenchengladbach. He has to his credit two matches played for Germany's national team. Both were unofficial and he will now have an opportunity to play for Russia.

In March, Schalke's press office said Neustaedter had applied for Russian citizenship but at the same time he would like to retain his German passport. The player himself said more than once he would like to have Russian citizenship to be able to play for the national team.

IANS

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