Shevchenko reveals he was supposed to be visiting Ukraine when Russia invaded & says mother remains in Kyiv

Andriy Shevchenko Getty Images
  • Legendary frontman was due to travel
  • Family remain in Ukraine
  • Football has returned in the region

WHAT HAPPENED? The iconic former frontman was due to travel back to his homeland from the United Kingdom for his mother’s birthday when Vladimir Putin ordered troops to cross borders in Eastern Europe. Shevchenko has spoken passionately against Russia's invasion and admits that his family refused to leave Kyiv.

WHAT THEY SAID: Ballon d’Or winner Shevchenko, who has played for and coached the Ukraine national team, has told The Players’ Tribune: “I was supposed to be there in Kyiv with my mum. It had been her birthday a couple of days before and we were going to have a family dinner at her place with my sister and a few friends.

"I'd even booked my flights from the 19th to 29th, but because of some paperwork I'd had to do in the UK, I'd changed my flight out for the 26th. My first instinct was to get my family out of the country, but my mum and my sister both told me the same thing - I remember the words of my mum on the phone so clearly: ‘I'm not going to leave now. This is my home’.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Shevchenko, who took in two spells with Milan and also spent time in the Premier League with Chelsea, has urged those in power across Ukraine and Russia to come together and find a way to restore peace to the region. In addition, he recently presented Poland captain Robert Lewandowski with a special armband that the Barcelona man has agreed to wear at the World Cup.


Andriy Shevchenko Fondazione MilanAC Milan

Andriy Shevchenko Ukraine Euro 2012GettyLewandowski Shevchenko armband 2Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? Football in Ukraine has returned after being shut down following Russia’s invasion, but leading sides are still playing European fixtures in competitions such as the Champions League at neutral venues in other countries.