The video you see above—in which an unending stream of bartenders at a Monaco nightclub lug bucket after bucket after bucket of Armand de Brignac champagne (about €500 per bottle, times the reported 500 bottles in circulation, equalling a €250,000 bar tab—not counting tip and sparkler fees) to the table of a pair of international soccer players fresh off their Euro 2016 exploits as their national anthem bellows from the speakers—would be a perfectly fitting celebration video. This video, however, does not depict the festivities of the yet-to-be-crowned Euro champions. It shows Russian internationals Aleksandr Kokorin and Pavel Mamaev, who were unceremoniously bounced from the first round. And their clubs are pissed.
Here’s another view of all the Ace of Spades bottles consumed during this weekend’s party at Twiga in Monte Carlo and the cheers and confetti and attention that all seems centered on the two soccer stars’ table:
Twiga’s Facebook page also has tons of pictures of the revelry. What is clear is that Kokorin and Mamaev were at this party on Saturday. What remains a point of contention is whether the two were the instigators of the decadence.
After these videos and images made the rounds in the Russian media, both clubs that employ Kokorin and Mamaev responded quickly and angrily. From RT:
Mamaev’s club FC Krasnodar has already issued a statement, calling its player’s behavior “outrageous and unacceptable.”
“Currently, footballer Pavel Mamaev is moved to the youth team of FC Krasnodar,” the statement read, adding that Mamaev will also be fined.
A source in Kokorin’s club, Zenit Saint Petersburg, told R-Sport that the player will also be moved from the main team to the youth squad and fined.
Demoting both players to the youth teams is a pretty humiliating punishment. But is it justified? Kokorin says no. According to him, while he and Mamaev were indeed in the building, they weren’t the ones who actually paid for everything. Back to RT:
“Somebody was celebrating their birthday and we were simply there. Naturally, everybody saw the bottles and heard the Russian anthem, but why put all this on us?” Kokorin said, as cited by Sports.ru.
He stressed that the club where the events took place is known for attracting many rich Russians who live or are on holiday in Monaco.
“We have nothing to do with the bills for this party and its entourage. And the money which was mentioned in the media was enough to buy not just the champagne, but the whole place,” the player added.
This doesn’t sound like total bullshit. It does seem a little weird that two guys would go quite so hard for seemingly no good reason outside of the basic joys of getting bottle service and the resulting Damn, I’m Dope As Hell feeling that comes along with it. And while all the attention does appear directed at them, it seems plausible that some Russian oligarch was in the building for his birthday, spotted the two soccer guys, and decided to dedicate that toasting session to the players by telling the DJ to cue up the anthem and dropping a quarter mil to pour it up with the stars.
Plausible, I said. Not necessarily likely. A strong counterpoint to Kokorin’s excuse comes in the form of this Instagram video from a year and a half ago on Mamaev’s account (in a post that tags Kokorin, too) that shows the same M.O.: lots of bottles, paraded about to the tune of the national anthem:
Somehow the surprise here isn’t that a couple players from a Russian team that got embarrassed in the Euros were the ones to party the hardest after it; it’s that their countrymen appear to have taken such an issue with what seems to me perfectly traditional Russian behavior.