Spirit announce degster departure *
In a shocking turn following their top-four placement at the PGL Major, Spirit are on the lookout for a new AWPer.
Update 19:54: In a statement on Twitter, Abdul "degster" Gasanov has confirmed that the main reason behind his departure was the organization's demand to stay in Serbia long-term and stressed that the decision wasn't political.
"There are certain personal matters that prevented me from being able to meet these demands," he said. "In addition, my girlfriend is in Moscow and we needed more time to make a decision if we wanted to live in Serbia. [...] This was a mutual decision, influenced solely by personal factors, so there is no political context here."
Spirit have announced that they have decided to part ways with degster following a mutual agreement and put the AWPer on the transfer list. The decision came as a result of "non-game factors" after the two sides "could not come to an understanding," it was stated by the CEO and by the coach of the team.
The organization did not elaborate on those factors beyond vague references to a difference in views on the team's future, but one source has indicated to HLTV.org that the decision had to do with Spirit's recent relocation to Serbia amid Russia's invasion into Ukraine and degster's wishes to return to and live in his home country.
The star AWPer's departure comes as a complete shock after Spirit made it to the semi-finals at PGL Major Antwerp in an impressive upset run featuring wins over the likes of Astralis, Heroic, and FURIA. The Russian side had degster at the center of the Cinderella run, with the 20-year-old being their highest-rated player in Belgium, averaging an impressive 1.25 rating across all stages of the Major.
His exit from the team will undoubtedly come as a big blow. Spirit are unlikely to find a replacement capable of filling the shoes of degster, widely seen as one of the region's best AWPers during his year-and-a-half-long tenure with the Russian organization.
Without sharing any specific names, Spirit's representatives have stated that they will decide on a replacement soon and that their ideal candidate is a team player willing to play both passively and aggressively.
"Abdul is a very talented player who has proven to be one of the best not only in the region but worldwide during his time in Spirit. That's why the decision we made was so tough," Spirit's CEO, Nikita Cheshir Chukalin, said in a statement. "However, we have a specific plan for the development of the project regarding CS:GO, and we will not disregard it, even for the most talented player."
"We could not come to an understanding with Abdul so it was mutually agreed to part ways. We understand what kind of player we need and will decide on a replacement in the near future. I thank Abdul for this year and a half of work in our team and I wish him good luck on his journey."
"I want to thank Abdul for his work, we have achieved good results and built a strong team. I am glad that we were able to use his strengths and always find a compromise that helps the team to progress despite the different views on the game," the team's coach, Sergey "hally" Shavaev, added.
"The parting was not an easy decision which was hastened by non-game factors, but I am sure that now is the right time for it. An interesting period is now coming for us: we will choose the sniper based on our game structure, our ideal candidate is more of a team player and someone who is willing to play both passively and aggressively."
Spirit are down to four:
Sergey "hally" Shavaev (coach)
Abdul "degster" Gasanov (transfer list)