'Disgusting' attack from ex-Russia captain leaves referee in hospital

Pictured here, a shot of the shocking attack that left referee Nikita Danchenko in hospital.
Referee Nikita Danchenko had to go to hospital after the attack by Roman Shirokov. Pic: Twitter/Instagram

Shocking footage has captured the moment a former national captain attacked a referee during an amateur football match in Russia.

Former Russia midfielder Roman Shirokov could face criminal charges over the sickening incident that left referee Nikita Danchenko in hospital.

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Shirokov - who scored 13 goals in 57 games for Russia - lashed out at the whistle-blower after receiving a red card for dissent during the Moscow Celebrity Cup.

The 39-year-old, who played in three European Championships and won the 2008 UEFA Cup with Zenit St Petersburg, was left fuming after the referee failed to award him a penalty for an apparent foul in the box.

Shirokov was then sent off after abusing the referee, prompting him to launch a vicious attack on the official.

The midfielder punched the referee in the face, causing him to the fall to the ground, where he proceeded to kick him before players stepped in to put a stop to the madness.

The referee suffered a broken eyebrow as well as other bruising and spent over four hours in hospital, according to reports in Russia. The match was abandoned.

The tournament's organiser, German Popkov, called the incident "disgusting".

“This is unacceptable, disgusting and terrible. [It’s] very strange behaviour," he said.

"A lot of people saw it live, all this from a million angles. And this is from people with whom we are completely friends."

Images show shocking extent of attack

Shirokov is unlikely to face sanction from a football sense because it was not an official match but he could yet face criminal charges.

The referee shared photos of his injuries from the brutal assault, having spent more than four hours in hospital after the match.

"I spent four to four and a half hours in the hospital, then another 15-20 minutes in the emergency room," he wrote on Instagram.

"They put stitches everywhere, did a bunch of examinations. And most importantly, everything seems to be fine with me.

"What does not kill you will make you stronger, as they say. Therefore, we continue to go further and continue to work.

Seen here, Roman Shirokov at the 2016 European Cup with Russia.
Roman Shirokov was capped 57 times by Russia and played in three European Championships. Pic: Getty

"I want to thank everyone for the words of support, this is a difficult moment for me and my loved ones."

The captain of Shirokov's team, Dmitry Shnyakin, took to social media to say he was ashamed by his teammate's actions.

"Zero excuses, zero disputes over the act of Roman Shirokov. This is a nightmarish, paralysing episode," he wrote.

"I am ashamed and incredibly sorry that this happened."

Shirokov also took to Instagram to apologise, saying: "I would like to express my sincere apologies to Nikita for such an inappropriate act committed by me.

"I am well aware that not assigning an obvious penalty and then the red card shown cannot be a reason for waving his hands, I hope Nikita as soon as possible will return to service.

"I also want to apologise to the organisers of the tournament, my teammates, Match TV and viewers."