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Russian 'keeper Safonov joins PSG to challenge for Donnarumma's spot

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Paris Saint-Germain have signed Russian goalkeeper Matvey Safonov from Krasnodar on a five-year contract, the French champions announced Friday.

The signing of a Russian player from a Russian top-flight club comes more than two years after Russia invaded Ukraine, which led to sanctions against Russian athletes and a ban on Russian teams in European football competitions.

"I'm really happy to be joining Paris Saint-Germain, one of the world's biggest clubs in terms of its history and what it has won," said 25-year-old Safonov.

"I can't wait to meet my new teammates, defend my new colours and make the fans proud. Allez Paris!"

PSG praised the former Krasnodar captain's qualities in a statement on the club's website.

The Paris-based side said Safonov was "renowned for his leadership qualities" and "played a large part in Krasnodar's excellent campaign, in which they finished second in the league, just a point behind (champions) FC Zenit".

Safonov had captained Krasnodar since 2020 after graduating through the club's youth academy. He made 175 appearances for the southern Russian side.

The goalie boasts 14 caps for Russia, since his debut in June 2021. He played in two group-stage games for his country at Euro 2020 -- which took place in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

With Safonov's arrival, PSG have four goalkeepers, including Italian number one Gianluigi Donnarumma.

As Italy prepared to start their European Championship defence on Saturday against Albania, his national team coach Luciano Spalletti said Donnarumma "will find a better team" than PSG if his starting berth is threatened by Safonov.

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