Andriy Shevchenko Says 'Football Doesn't Exist For Me' As He Contemplates Returning To Ukraine
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Ex-Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko called on Thursday for more aid and other measures in support of victims of the Russian invasion of his homeland.
Widely regarded as his country's greatest ever player, Shevchenko said global soccer authorities had done the right thing in banning Russia from international competitions, though the sport was currently the last thing on his mind.
"We have refugees, we need humanitarian aid. We need medical support, food support...," Shevchenko, who won 111 caps for Ukraine during a stellar carrier that included stints at some of the world's top clubs, told Sky Sports. "Football doesn't exist for me any more. I don't think about it. It's not the time for that... All my concentration, when I wake up, I think about how I can help my country, what I can do."
"We need to stop this war"Andriy Shevchenko speaks powerfully on the invasion of his home country, Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/SnqnkFpx4R
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 2, 2022
World soccer body FIFA and its European counterpart UEFA have banned teams from Russia and also Belarus, which has been a staging zone for the invasion.
Since Russia invaded, more than 2,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and hundreds of structures including homes, hospitals, kindergartens and transport facilities have been destroyed, Ukraine's emergency service said on Wednesday. The United Nations has estimated that more than 870,000 people have fled from Ukraine.
Shevchenko, who is currently based in London, said he had contemplated going home.
"I talk to my parents, I talk to my mother and say I want to go back, but my feeling is here now."
Former Milan and Ukraine player Andriy Shevchenko spoke of peace before the Coppa Italia semifinal ️
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 1, 2022
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet)