Ex-Chelsea star Shevchenko begs sporting world not to forget Ukraine – Sporting Life

Former Chelsea and Milan star Andriy Shevchenko has urged the sporting world “not to forget” Ukraine but has welcomed plans to restart the national league in the country.

“We must not forget what is happening in Ukraine. The Russians keep bombing and the war never stopped,” Shevchenko, who was both captain and coach of the Ukraine national team, told CNN.

“It’s very difficult for me personally, I’m still frustrated with what happened.

“I asked the same question sometimes and couldn’t find an answer, but now we only have one direction, we have to win this war and start rebuilding the country.”

Shevchenko and tennis star Elina Svitolina have become ambassadors for UNITED 24, an organization set up by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to support donations to Ukraine’s war effort.

It’s an initiative that has raised $166m (£137m/€163m) so far.

Shevchenko paid tribute to Polish tennis star Iga Swiatek, who organized a charity fundraiser match against Agnieszka Radwańska last month.

“It’s very important, because at the moment athletes are icons for the younger generation,” Shevchenko stressed.

“It is very important for people to take a position against the war, to send the message to the whole world to be against the war and to support peace in Ukraine.”

This week he visited refugee children and a center in Warsaw and also recognized the contribution of Polish soccer star Robert Lewandowski for helping to raise money and raise awareness of the war.

Lewandowski had worn an armband in Ukrainian colors at Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski also ended an endorsement deal with Chinese tech giant Huawei amid reports they had backed the Russians.

Shevchenko remains in close contact with the Ukrainian President.

“I’m here as part of the UNITED24 platform to raise awareness and speak about the war, to try to find the funds for humanitarian and medical aid, because that’s what Ukraine needs at this moment,” he said.

“We need some support to move forward for our future, our independence and our democratic path.

“The message is very clear: since the beginning of the war, Ukraine needs a lot of help.”

Shevchenko also highlighted the importance of the reaction of Scottish fans during June’s FIFA World Cup qualifier between Scotland and Ukraine in Glasgow.

“It was incredible to sit in the Scots crowd and have incredible support for Ukraine.

“I felt like we were playing at home because people cared about the terrible war in Ukraine and wanted Ukraine to do well.”

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Although the Ukraine national team are expected to play their final Nations League game against Scotland in Kraków next month, Shevchenko has welcomed plans to resume the domestic league on home soil.

Sports Minister of Ukraine Vadym Guttsait has indicated that matches will be played behind closed doors in stadiums equipped with security measures.

“It’s very important for the people, for the rest of the world, that we can send the message that Ukraine is here,” Shevchenko said.

“Even if we are at war in the country, we will fight because we also want to live like normal countries, a normal life.”

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