In 2014, when the war broke out in the Donbes, several Brazilian footballers who became Ukrainian citizens were called upon to save money from foreigners. That experience enraged his agents for the foreseeable future. years later, The clause that the Brazilians demanded from Dynamo Kyiv or Shakhtar Donetsk when they signed was to be able to leave the team for reasons beyond their control, ie because of the war. At the time, imagining a large-scale invasion of Ukraine like the present seemed like a pipe dream. Today there is not a single one of those teams left. He did not dare to stay in Ukraine and the team owners’ fortunes changed from signing to the war effort.
The line-up is made up of young Ukrainians who are fortunate enough to devote themselves to professional football, the presidential government being one of the exceptions. Volodymyr Zelensky Consider not sending them into the trenches. we are in the stadium Valery Lobanovsky, Dinamo’s great coach, who also has a statue with a bronze figure, leaned forward, as if he were still following the game off the bench. In theory only teams and journalists have access, but some soldiers sneak into the revived Ukrainian Premier League to watch one of the best games of the day. The reality is that if the public were allowed to enter the stadium, most fans would not be able to attend as they are fighting on the front lines today.
The competition should have returned on 25 February after the winter break but Vladimir Putin It was decided the night before the world was turned upside down and the country was invaded, causing the cancellation of all sports, from professional to children, in addition to thousands of deaths. The main thing was to save lives. Now, six months later and with the war hundreds of kilometers away from Kyiv, the Zelensky government has thought Ukrainians might enjoy the 90-minute distraction in the midst of the massive national drama in which they navigate. There is no greater catalyst for patriotism than football. That’s why, whenever the Ukraine national team plays, curfew is extended across the country so that people can return home after the games.
In this league of war, as they call it, the anthem is sung before it begins. It happens Ruslan, the artist who won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004, was accompanied by a group of women dressed in traditional vishivanka and all players covered with flags and their hands on their chests. The ceremony ends with the usual Slavic Ukrainian (Glory of Ukraine).
more than four hours of play
If the air raid siren sounds, the game will stop and everyone will go to the shelter under the stand. One of the league’s first meetings, the second of the budding metalists from Kharkov, the elite team of the escaped serhi kurchenkoThe alarm lasted more than four hours after several pauses.
Dinamo on the Kyiv bench, Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu watches the show from the bench with a serious face. This is the biggest challenge I have faced as a technician, but I have had to stay, my emotional commitment to this country, he says in perfect Spanish. We have to travel between eight and nine hours to Poland by bus because you can’t fly from Ukraine. Travel to Istanbul this week can be crazy. And on the other hand, players are with their heads at war, all relatives of those affected or fighting, he says.
The league is played in four venues, the capital and three other cities to the west, including Zakarpattia away on the Polish border. Ukraine is so vast that the journey between it and Kyiv can take up to eight hours by bus. Two teams are out of competition this year, Mariupol and Chernigov, the first of them without a stadium, without money and with a city wreck. Many promising Ukrainians now train thanks to sports scholarships in Latvia and Hungary, in addition to clubs such as Juventus in Tern, which has welcomed 80 youth squads from Dynamo Kyiv.
“Here’s a Slaughter”
Another peculiarity of this competition is that two teams, Shekhar and Zovia, do not play in their cities, Donetsk and Lugansk, as they have been occupied by the enemy for years. In fact, the owner of Shakhtar, one of Ukraine’s richest men, has filed open cases against Russia for destroying industries such as his team’s grand stadium and famous. azovastalA sidewalk on his property where Mariupol’s last defenders took refuge.
sight, one of the Zovia players, has spent the war at Lepolis, training at his home. I am very grateful to the army, who through their sacrifice allowed us to play football here. I hope they can enjoy the games for a while wherever they are, remarked wearing their shoes. The closest reference we have for such a sports break is the covid season, but it’s very, very bad, says Nazry. I play for the Lugansk team, my mother’s city that I can’t go to because it’s temporary. occupied by Russia. I hope our soldiers will release him soon.
Dennis BoykoDynamo Kyiv goalkeeper signs some balls destined for auction to pay for war effort: It’s a difficult time for us but we have to find the strength to continue supporting our country and showing the world that There is no ‘operation here’. special military’ but a genocide.
– Don’t you think that playing football again is somehow a victory?
– Every day we are closer to victory against Russia because the truth is with us.
“I want the war to end”
brusco, one of Zovia’s youth and the author of the sport’s great goal, which ensures a future contract with a great European club, assures: I want the war to end as soon as possible but not if it comes soon. , we will protest because we are already used to playing far away, sleeping less and going to the shelter when the siren sounds. Soldiers have it worse than us.
The tough match ended in a three-two in Zovia’s favour, with the giants getting off to a poor start in the Dinamo League. The players of Zovia did not even have time to stop and eat. They grabbed some pizza and boarded a bus to their local headquarters, Zakarpattia, an eight-hour drive from Kyiv and the opposite cardinal point from Lugansk, the city they represent.
His Shakhtar teammates, who will face Real Madrid in the Champions League, will face the same punishment as Dinamo: Ukrainian headquarters in Kyiv, European headquarters in Warsaw.
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Reference from www.elmundo.es