Bear tamer denies animal cruelty after grizzly gives football team ‘pep talk’

A brown bear gave a surprise pre-match pep talk to a Russian football team – after which they won 7-1.

Players were shocked as the muzzled beast was brought into the changing room .

One crossed himself and others edged away in fear as the huge six-year-old predator called Yasha strode around.

The stunt was set up by club founder Mikhail Litvin, 20, a blogger and prankster with some 15 million followers.

He told the Sakhalinets Moscow players: “I love you all, but today you will be scared as never before.”

The visit took the place of a team talk by manager Yuri Drozdov, 48, an ex-Moscow Lokomotiv star.

The bear quickly showed who was boss, and the tactic worked.

The amateur team won 7-1 against Burevestnik in Division A of the Moscow championship.

Bear tamer Gennady Pikulin denied the stunt was cruel.

“It is not aggressive,” he said.

“Trained bears are not dangerous and here the bear was in a muzzle, he could not open its mouth.”

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The bear “wanted to play….

“It is 100 percent not wild.

“Circus and domestic animals are accustomed to people.”

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