Kazan end Martins' Blues spell

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport
Martins and Birmingham celebrate after an Arsenal mix-up
Obafemi Martins' stay with Birmingham will be remembered for his last-minute winner against Arsenal in the Carling Cup final

Russian side Rubin Kazan have recalled Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins from relegated English Premier League side Birmingham City.

The 26-year-old joined the Blues on loan in January, but underwent surgery for a stress fracture in April.

Martins made six appearances for the club, scoring two goals before injury ended his season.

He will be remembered for scoring City's winner in their 2-1 Carling Cup final victory over Arsenal in February.

"My time here at Birmingham City will stay with me, forever," Martins told BBC Sport.

"The club, fans, coaching staff and board treated me good unfortunately the campaign ended in relegation.

"But we only need to dwell on the positives and a remarkable time here was well spent with passionate fans and a thoroughly professional side."

The Nigerian international returns to Rubin Kazan, whom he is contracted to until 2013, with mixed feelings about his time with Alex McLeish's side.

"The Carling Cup win was obviously the biggest success but my injury, surgery and then relegation were a bitter pill to swallow."

"I wish I could do more because this club deserves to be playing in the Premier League, it is where it truly belongs.

"It was a time well spent and there was not much I could do [about extending the deal] but respect Rubin Kazan's demand for a return."

Martins wrote his name into Birmingham folklore in February as his last-minute goal against Arsenal won the club's first major silverware since 1963.

The diminutive Nigerian took advantage of a fatal communication breakdown in the Gunners defence to clinch victory for the Blues and send their supporters into ecstasy.

Martins, who has also played for former Italian champions Inter Milan, had a previous spell in England with Newcastle United before joining German outfit Wolfsburg.

Martins joined Rubin after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but failed to settle after his big-money move from Wolfsburg.

Rubin currently lie 10th in the ongoing Russian league, with their next match against FC Tom Tomsk on Friday.

Martins is not expected to return to action until July at the earliest.