Shakhtar Donetsk violently settles accounts with FIFA and several clubs

More than a game. Tomorrow night Shakhtar Donetsk plays much more than a Champions League game against Real Madrid. Aside from the result, the goal will be to send a strong message to Europe and the whole world by showing that despite the war between Ukraine and Russia that has been going on for months and even years, the club is still standing. This is the third conflict experienced by Darijo Srna, a former Shakhtar player and now director of football. “1991 in Croatia, 2014 in Donetsk and now all over Ukraine”explained the Croatian in the columns of brand.

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The opportunity for him not to tell the everyday life of an apprenticeship like the others. “The start was a disaster. We were in Kyiv with the team and we took care of everything, especially with the foreign players. Some left by car, others by train… We are a team without a fixed address and that hurts the most. We played in Lviv, in Odessa, in Kharkov, now in the Champions League in Warsaw… My daughter calls me and I tell her that one day I’ll be in Kyiv, the next day in London… Sometimes I wake up and I don’t know where I am.

A team without a fixed stadium

He pursues: “On Saturday we played against Metalist, the alarm went off warning of a possible attack and we had to go back to the dressing room 15 minutes later to continue the game. We have to change hotels, buses, we train with mermaids, we travel with mermaids… This is our life today and we have to accept it. We have to be a role model, like the army is for us. We play for our fans and for Ukraine. I’m proud of this team. For me they are heroes”.

Heroes who had to travel a long way to get to the Spanish capital to play the C1 match there. “Today [hier] We train, then we have 7-8 hours by bus to Poland, because it is not allowed to fly from Ukraine, and later 4 hours by plane. We have a difficult life but no player ever complained or said they were tired.. Proud of his men, Darijo Srna used this interview to settle some scores. FIFA is particularly targeted.

Srna tackles FIFA and certain clubs

“UEFA, through Ceferin, did everything to help us and Ukrainian football. FIFA, on the other hand, destroyed us. She never protected us. If Real Madrid, Sevilla, Barcelona or Bayern were in our situation, I’m sure they would have helped them quickly. We too are a team and have given a lot to European football over the past 20 years. I want someone from FIFA to come to Ukraine, live with us and other teams and feel what it’s like to live with sirens and bombs.”.

The Shakhtar boss also has no sympathy for FIFA’s decision to release foreign players after the start of the war. “We had 14 foreigners whose market value was between 150 and 200 million euros and they were loaned out without their contracts being frozen. Salomon and Tetê were on a year and a half contract, they went to Fulham and Lyon and when they return they only have six months left to be free. It’s unacceptable (…) Everyone said they wanted to help us, that they didn’t want our players for nothing… but there were teams that took advantage of our situation. Nothing happens. Life is long and it’s like a boomerang, you throw it and it comes back to you”.

The leader is proud of his “heroes”

Shakhtar, who have lost several Brazilian players (Tetê, Neres, Dodo etc.), are trying to assert themselves. “We may have lost a certain identity, but Mudryk is better than all the Brazilians who have come through here”. He also congratulated Lassina Traoré, the only foreign player remaining in a training session that is still in progress. Nobody believed that we would play again, we didn’t know what would happen to the teams… Well, we lost 14 players, we only keep 2-3 starters compared to a year ago… but we have formed a good team, very young, with a very ambitious coach (Igor Jovicevic). In the 6-1 win against Metalist we used 11 Ukrainians from the start for the first time in 20 years, and 90% came from our academy.

Which makes a club proud that is rebuilt day by day. With 13 points (4 wins, 1 draw) leaders Shakhtar, who started the Champions League season with a win against Leipzig and a draw against Celtic, are proving he’s still around.“When it became known that we were going straight into the group stage, many expected that we wouldn’t score any points. “It’s not the same Shakhtar as before,” they said. It’s logic. We’ve lost 14 players and our technical staff, but we’re still in the Champions League and we have four points. It would be amazing to get to the last 16 but it’s difficult..

Ukrainians have nothing to lose

He added : “This team has character and courage. We are not afraid of anyone (…) We have an exemplary President. He had his business in Donetsk and then he was attacked in Mariupol. He’s lost more than anyone, between 10 and 15 billion… but Shakhtar is his passion, his life, his family. He pays wages on time. He calls us every day to see how the team is doing… I am proud to work with him for more than 25 years (…) We hope to return to Donetsk. We believe in it. We will keep fighting for that… and we will win.”. A strong message from Srna who warned the merengues. “They are the favourites, but we want to show our football and I insist, we have nothing to lose.”. The message has arrived!

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