Rice 'delighted' for Yarmolenko and keen to face Barcelona as West Ham progress in Europa League

Yarmolenko West Ham 2022Getty

Declan Rice said he was especially "delighted" for Andriy Yarmolenko after West Ham progressed in the Europa League and admitted eyeing a potential tie with Barcelona next.

West Ham reached their first European quarter-final since 1981 after beating Sevilla 2-0 after extra-time at London Stadium on Thursday night.

David Moyes' side advanced 2-1 on aggregate thanks to Yarmolenko's 112th-minute goal, which sparked emotional scenes of celebration amid his country's ongoing conflict with Russia.

What has been said?

Ukraine international Yarmolenko was granted compassionate leave by West Ham following Russia's invasion, and netted his first goal since returning to action in a 2-1 win against Aston Villa on March 13.

The Hammers faithful were right behind the 32-year-old once again after his decisive strike against Sevilla, and he was visibly moved as Rice and the rest of his team-mates embraced him.

Rice expressed his admiration towards Yarmolenko post-match, telling BT Sport: “Yarmolenko was a little bit emotional away from the lads afterwards. For what he’s been through to perform like this – his desire, the way he chased players and scored. He deserves this. He stepped up. I’m delighted for him.”

Rice wants Barca tie

West Ham have joined Barca, Atalanta, RB Leipzig, Lyon, Braga, Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt in the last eight of this season's Europa League.

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Barca are favourites to lift the trophy after coming through their round of 16 tie with Galatasaray, and Rice says the Hammers would love the chance to head to Camp Nou.

“Me and the guys fancy the Nou Camp, we’ve heard they do some nice paella down there!” the midfielder said when quizzed on his preferred quarter-final opponents. “It would be special to go there and face Barcelona."

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