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Andriy Shevchenko


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Wasn't he supposed to get into politics or something after retiring from football?

Anyway, if he's serious about getting in to coaching I would very much like to see Sheva in the Chelsea coaching team at some point. A likable character and a real gentleman.

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This explains his constant presence at our games: Sam ‏@daspecial_1 It would appear that Andriy Shevchenko's continual presence at #CFC is because he's doing his coaching badges here with the club. N

http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/former-chelsea-striker-andriy-shevchenko-targets-management-role-8751614.html also revealed that he is studying for his coaching badges

Sheva and Seedorf were present at the Bridge  

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To me, Sheva has no business in coaching a big club like Chelsea. The other day, I saw an interview on TV with him. This man can not even speak English coherently.

Chelsea aims for the top of the heap club & Sheva does not fit that category in my view.

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We have bough 3 class strikers past their prime, two of them played in Italy for a longggggg time. Crespo and Shevchenko were too late in their career for a new league that is as fast and psychical as the PL.

As for Torres....Who pays £50 million for a player that was out of form all season and had a pretty bad injury at the WC.

We buy big names and hope they fit in. Teams like United buy strikers that suit their system and fit in immediately.

Shevchenko will always be one of my favorite strikers. He was so good in the early 2000's

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Shevchenko, Chelsea and a dream that turned into a nightmare

https://theathletic.com/1741974/2020/04/15/sheva-shevchenko-andriy-chelsea-roman-abramovich/

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All these years later and John Obi Mikel still can’t understand it. He has just been asked to reflect on what it was like to play with Andriy Shevchenko, one of the greatest strikers to ever play the game, at Chelsea.

Andriy was a really quiet guy, you couldn’t get a word out of him,” he tells The Athletic. “He was probably the quietest player I have ever played with. His CV was unbelievable at AC Milan. I grew up watching him, so when he joined I was like ‘wow, it’s Sheva!’ We just couldn’t understand why after he arrived, he wasn’t speaking — not on the pitch, not at the training ground or outside of it. It was strange.”

There have been many words used to describe Shevchenko’s Chelsea career and few of them are very complimentary. Go to any website that has compiled a list of the worst signings in the club’s history and his name will be somewhere near the top.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When Chelsea broke the British transfer record to buy the Ukrainian for £30.8 million in 2006, it was regarded as a real statement of intent by a side that had won back-to-back Premier League titles. Not only were they looking to continue their dominance of English football, but his arrival would be the final piece required to capture the hitherto elusive Champions League.

Instead, Shevchenko’s presence brought a lot of negative scrutiny on the club and was seen as a major factor in the deteriorating relationship between owner Roman Abramovich and Jose Mourinho first time around. This is the story behind one of the most fascinating transfers in English football history.


Not for the first time, Mourinho wasn’t happy. His Chelsea side were coasting to a second successive title — they had led the table from the third game of the 2005-06 season — but things weren’t going as well as he would like on the pitch.

Barcelona outplayed his men over both legs to knock them out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage. The pursuit of the League Cup and FA Cup had also been ended by Charlton (third round) and Liverpool (semi-final) respectively.

He was already thinking of a slight change in style for 2006-07, to use a tactic which he had only used on a few occasions over the two campaigns he’d been at the helm. He wanted another forward to play alongside the growing force that was Didier Drogba.

As far as he was concerned, it couldn’t be solved by the options available at the club. Hernan Crespo was still in favour — the Argentine scored 13 goals that year — but he was unsettled and wanted a move back to Serie A.

Eidur Gudjohnsen had been a fine contributor since 2000, but the relationship between coach and forward was not what it was. He was sold to Barcelona at the end of the season, while academy graduate Carlton Cole was also deemed surplus to requirements and offloaded to West Ham.

So Mourinho prepared a list of possible targets. “There were five names,” a Chelsea insider from the time explains to The Athletic. “There were big names on there. Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o was one of them.

“The last on the list was Shevchenko. Was he on it for political reasons? I believe so, yes. He knew that of all the players Abramovich wanted to bring to Chelsea, Shevchenko was the one he wanted most.”

On May 31, 2006, the news was confirmed that Shevchenko had signed a four-year contract worth £115,000-a-week. Publicly at least, Mourinho couldn’t have sounded more thrilled.

Today is a day when the dream became reality,” he said. “Andriy has always been my first choice for Chelsea since I arrived. He has great qualities, ambition, discipline and tactical awareness. And, of course, he is a great goalscorer.”

But instead of finding the solution to his problems, Mourinho’s problems were only just beginning.

Out of all the global megastars, there was one man Abramovich craved from the moment he bought Chelsea in 2003.

Having scored AC Milan’s decisive penalty to beat Juventus in the 2003 Champions League final, Shevchenko was the talk of Europe. That summer, Abramovich travelled to Milan, supposedly to talk with Inter Milan about the possibility of signing some of their talent. Coincidentally, a meeting set up at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel to discuss such matters was the same venue Shevchenko had arranged to see an associate of his own.

On spotting the striker, Abramovich didn’t hesitate to make the most of the opportunity. “I happened to have an appointment there at the same time with another person, who introduced me to Roman,” Shevchenko told The Guardian. “Straight away he asked me whether I’d like to come to Chelsea, but I told him absolutely not, because I was happy at AC Milan. We’d just won the Champions League. I spoke to him for another five minutes and that was it.”

If Shevchenko thought that was the end of the matter, he severely underestimated Chelsea’s new wealthy benefactor. In May the following year, Abramovich and chief executive Peter Kenyon held discussions with AC Milan’s vice-president Adriano Galliani. As much as the two parties tried to dismiss the significance of the encounter, it was pretty obvious what the subject had been. However, Shevchenko, who helped his side win Serie A with an impressive 24 goals in 32 matches in 2004 — a feat which was acknowledged with the Ballon d’Or — once again stayed put.

There had already been suggestions that Abramovich and Shevchenko were on friendly terms and conversing on a regular basis by the time Milan were preparing for another Champions League final in 2005. Shevchenko certainly wasn’t afraid to talk positively about a man whose wealth was perceived in many corridors of power as having a negative impact on the game.

Speaking before the match against Liverpool — which would turn into a nightmare for Shevchenko, as he failed to score the final penalty in a shootout defeat — he said: “I really appreciate everything about Roman: his seriousness, his hard work, what he’s trying to create at Chelsea, and his way of going about it. He has earned an enormous amount of my respect. Although I wouldn’t presume to call us good friends, we talk quite a bit. There has been too much talk about Roman, his money and what he’s going to do with it. He’s too smart to toss the whole team out the window every summer to buy new players.”

A few months later, they were spotted talking together on the pitch ahead of Chelsea’s pre-season friendly against AC Milan in Boston in 2005. A transfer seemed only a matter of when, not if, despite AC Milan’s efforts to keep him. It still took a third party to make the difference. Shevchenko had a contract at the San Siro lasting until 2009 and would take a lot of convincing to leave a club he had come to adore since joining from Dynamo Kiev in 1999.

Step forward Kristen Pazik, his wife. She was forming a bond with Abramovich’s then-wife Irina and went shopping with her in London just before Christmas. Perhaps more significantly, Shevchenko and Pazik were thinking about taking a new step for their family. Jordan, their son, was still an infant and a second child, Christian, was on the way.

They wanted their children to grow up speaking English, and London provided easy gateways to the couple’s respective homelands — Ukraine for Shevchenko, America for Pazik. As one source put it: “The decision was a social and personal one rather than a football one.”

Chelsea were prepared to match the wage package Milan were paying him and, despite the desperate attempts of Galliani to change his mind, Shevchenko made it clear he wanted a switch to west London. That just left the thorny issue of a transfer fee. AC Milan made Chelsea pay the sixth-highest fee in the history of the game, a consolation of sorts given Shevchenko’s 30th birthday was approaching. Yet it still hurt.

“It’s a victory of the English language over the Italian language,”  Galliani said. “I tried to persuade him to stay, right up until the last minute. It is certainly the most painful separation during my time at Milan.”

The Italian club’s president Silvio Berlusconi took the news even worse. Seven months after the departure, Berlusconi hit out furiously at Shevchenko and his wife. “A true Milanista and a real man would not have behaved like this,” he said. “At my home, I’m in charge and decide what happens. Shevchenko instead, when his wife shouts, runs under the bed like a lap dog. His wife ordered him to London with their children where the fog will do their lungs the world of good. That’s how it finished.”

So just how involved had Mourinho, who replaced Claudio Ranieri as head coach in 2004, been in the targeting and recruitment of this very lucrative acquisition? It was a question put to Kenyon during an appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live in January 2007.  He replied nervously: “Er, it was, er, the discussion first took place, er, even before he’d (Mourinho) joined us in terms of when we were looking at the squad. And those conversations took place each year until last season when we managed to get him.”

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Pressed on whether it was an idea from Mourinho or Abramovich, he added: “It was an idea about, er, you know, we need a striker. Who are the best strikers in the world? And if I asked you, you would have put Shevchenko’s name on there as well.”

However, within two years, few clubs would have Shevchenko on their wish list.


Little did Abramovich or Mourinho know, but Shevchenko’s Chelsea career was probably doomed to failure before he’d even put pen to paper on his Chelsea deal.

Just over three weeks earlier, he suffered a painful knee injury during a Serie A game against Parma. There would be no chance to spend the summer making a full recovery: as Ukraine captain, he had the pressure of leading them into their very first World Cup.

He found the net twice (the third in a 4-0 win over Saudi Arabia and a penalty against Tunisia), but struggled to meet his usual high standards, despite Ukraine’s impressive run to the quarter-finals.

That lack of sharpness was obvious from the outset at Chelsea, although a debut goal in the Community Shield against Liverpool showed his ability to make clever runs off the ball and finish clinically was still there.

Another goal soon followed in a 2-1 Premier League defeat at Middlesbrough, but it would take another two months before he troubled the scoresheet again. This was a far cry from the man who had found the net 173 times in 296 matches for AC Milan.

Abramovich couldn’t have made him feel more welcome, organising accommodation in London while the family looked for a permanent home. He was a guest at the Cocoon restaurant in Mayfair to celebrate Shevchenko’s 30th birthday, with team-mates, including John Terry, Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack, also in attendance.

But this would prove to be a rare night out with members of the squad. “We enjoyed ourselves at Chelsea,” Mikel reveals to The Athletic. “We worked so hard, we were winning games and trophies, so we would make the most of it socially, too. Not that the press could always see it…

“I don’t remember seeing Sheva at too many of our get-togethers, though. He didn’t go out with the players too much. Family appeared to be the priority. I don’t know whether he didn’t mix too much at first because he couldn’t speak English, but he just didn’t say a word.”

Player liaison officer Gary Staker can count as one of his closest friends thanks to a shared ability to speak Italian. Back-up keeper Carlo Cudicini was another. Later on, Branislav Ivanovic would be another, since they both spoke Russian.

A run of three goals in as many outings, all as part of a strike duo with Drogba, provided some encouragement. A partnership seemed to be forming, especially during a 4-0 home win over Watford when the Ivory Coast international celebrated a hat-trick and played in Shevchenko for the other.

By January 2007, though, their rapport was in decline. Drogba wasn’t happy with what he was seeing: “On Shevchenko’s side I don’t see any desire to collaborate,” he said. “I think that, as a big signing, he believes he is obliged to justify his transfer fee with goals at any cost. I love to share but, when I give, I appreciate it when I get something back. Everyone would have something to gain if we really worked together. I have tried to understand his position and get an explanation. I’ve never been afraid of competition and do not see him as a threat. I understand it is a really difficult situation for him to handle. But you have to think of the team first.”

In some ways, Drogba was part of the problem, according to Mikel. He explains: “Didier always loved the challenge, the bigger the game or the harder the competition for a place became, he liked to prove himself.  That’s what happened when Sheva arrived, he tried to take his performance to another level to make sure he was the main man.

“But I saw him in training trying to help Sheva. When training was done, they’d do shooting practice together. Lampard too. They always encouraged people to join them.”

With one tremendous swipe of his left foot, Shevchenko silenced the home supporters at White Hart Lane and gave a reminder of the quality for which he had been renowned. Many Chelsea fans who attended the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final replay win in March 2007 would go away thinking that goal alone was worth the sizeable transfer fee.

Those in the Chelsea dressing room were excited, too. “We all thought that this is the Shevchenko we were expecting all along,” Mikel continues. “It was an amazing shot. We thought it was the start of something, that he’d kick on from there. This will be the turnaround, he is coming back. But it never really happened. It was not the career he had at AC Milan.

“It’s not like he didn’t score goals. Chelsea tried to bring his explosiveness back. Everyone tried to help him. But I just think he didn’t come at the right time. He was just about to turn 30, which as we all know, you start to lose a little bit at that age.”

Reports in the English media were rife about how Shevchenko’s failure to perform was putting Mourinho and Abramovich at loggerheads. Chelsea’s manager wasn’t afraid to leave the front man out on a regular basis and significantly didn’t name him at a press conference as one of eight “untouchables” in the first XI.

As if the bad performances weren’t enough, one source describes the Portuguese as always being “unnerved by players having a close relationship with Abramovich”.

Not that Mikel witnessed anything untoward. “Yes, there were stories, but I never saw anything myself,” he says. “Sometimes Mourinho and Shevchenko were speaking and on good terms. I didn’t see much to suggest there were bad times between them. Maybe they did it privately. I didn’t see them having any beef. What we could see at training was Mourinho trying to help him to be better and Sheva was a good listener.

“He was such a disciplined guy. He got his head down and worked hard. Obviously coming from AC Milan, his work ethic was tremendous. He’d be early for training, trained hard. Never complained, never said anything bad to anybody, didn’t gossip about another player.

“He wasn’t miserable or grumpy. If he didn’t play at the weekend, he’d come in the next day and train really well. He was a great professional. Watching how he coped was a great lesson for me at a young age. When you’re 20 years old and see those big players — they all have massive egos — you have to choose who is your role model. Most of them were really professional, they understood the team wasn’t just about one person. I learnt a lot from them, Sheva included.”

After starting the League Cup final win over Arsenal, injury denied Shevchenko the chance to play in the first FA Cup final to be staged at the newly refurbished Wembley, where Drogba’s neat touch provided victory over Manchester United. He also sat out the second leg of the Champions League semi-final loss to Liverpool and the title run-in, which saw Manchester United take Chelsea’s crown.

The summer briefly brought suggestions of a thawing of tension between Mourinho and Abramovich, even though the former had wanted a bigger name than free signing Claudio Pizarro to improve the attack and put more pressure on Shevchenko.

But it didn’t last. Former British Olympic sprinter Darren Campbell was brought in to work with Shevchenko to improve his sharpness. Abramovich was prepared to try anything to help him succeed, although it clearly wasn’t an appointment Mourinho felt was necessary. Shevchenko was still not mingling with the group that often. Having moved to Wentworth in Surrey, where his house backed onto the famous golf course, another sport was competing for his affections.

“He had his golf clothes on every day,” midfielder Steve Sidwell tells The Athletic. “By the time I’d come in from training, he’d already have his golf gear on and was ready to play at Wentworth.

“I’m not saying Sheva was an absolute loner. It wasn’t like Chelsea was second to his family or golf, either. When he trained, he trained hard. When I was in his company, he always had time for me and was really good.”

Mourinho was sacked following a 1-1 draw at home to Rosenborg a month into the new season — Shevchenko coincidentally scoring Chelsea’s goal — and Campbell was employed a lot more regularly. Sidwell saw it as a sign of Shevchenko’s determination to come good.

At the time, Campbell said: “Under the Mourinho regime, Shevchenko was not allowed to do things that he was allowed to do when he was at Milan — he had a sprint coach there and he worked with him. I aim to condition him and it seems to be working. It is all about those first 30 yards, sprinting more efficiently. He has told me he feels fitter and sharper.”

But the rest of that second season was more of the same, even with Abramovich’s close confidant Avram Grant now in charge. Again, there were flashes, but even a fine brace against Aston Villa in December was diminished when he suffered a painful back injury in the same game. He struggled for months to recover. An operation was required on a hernia, too.

By the summer of 2008, he was telling Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that his level of fitness was “40 per cent, at most”. As far as he was concerned, enough was enough and he wanted out of Chelsea. The club had already begun to move on by buying Nicolas Anelka from Bolton for £15 million at the start of the year, and his rapport with Drogba was far more effective.

Such was Shevchenko’s demise there was little interest, especially with his salary to cover. AC Milan came to the rescue, but only on loan and Chelsea had to pay a portion of his wages. A year later, he was allowed to join Dynamo Kiev for nothing.

It will not come as a surprise to learn who made such a smooth escape possible. “Abramovich got it immediately,” Shevchenko said. “I explained my reasons clearly to him. He understood it had nothing to do with the club, my team-mates or the coach, and that the only way for me to get back to a certain level was at Milan.”  

Instead of making the difference at Chelsea as planned, Shevchenko left with a record of just 22 goals in 77 appearances. The League Cup final in 2007 was the only final he played.


Despite everything, Shevchenko’s current connection with Chelsea is as strong as it ever has been. Far from being horrified at the sight of Stamford Bridge, he has continued to attend games on a fairly regular basis.

The friendship with Abramovich endures: when he hasn’t been sitting as a guest in the owner’s box at the stadium, he has been spotted in the one Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia occupies.

He is now forging a reputation as a fine coach. Ukraine have employed Shevchenko as their manager since 2016 and he has earned a lot of plaudits for leading them to the European Championship, which will now take place in 2021.

But the 43-year-old still counts Wentworth as his home and confirmed last December that his second son Kristian, now 13, is a member of Chelsea’s academy. Clearly there are no hard feelings to his old employers and he is far more confident speaking English. In fact, such is the strength of connection, an insider feels he could be a contender to become manager of Chelsea one day. Earlier this month, the match analyst for the Ukraine side, Andrea Maldera, claimed Shevchenko will be looking to manage in Serie A or the Premier League in the future.

Shevchenko may not have made his mark as a player at Chelsea, but perhaps a happier chapter in the tale is still to be written.

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Shevchenko exclusive on Ancelotti, Mourinho and admiring Lampard

https://theathletic.com/1882055/2020/06/20/horncastle-shevchenko-chelsea-milan-ukraine-ac-mourinho-ancelotti/

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“There’s a bunch of us,” Andriy Shevchenko tells The Athletic. Looking back at the great AC Milan side he played in, it’s remarkable how many of his team-mates have gone into coaching.

On Wednesday night, Rino Gattuso masterminded Napoli’s triumph over Juventus in the Coppa Italia final. Pippo Inzaghi’s Benevento are top of Serie B with an insurmountable 20-point lead. Alessandro Nesta may yet bring Frosinone up too, through the play-offs, a feat Massimo Oddo achieved with Pescara in 2016. Cristian Brocchi recently celebrated promotion to the second division after the Lega Pro season was curtailed. His Monza team, owned by former Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi and run by the club’s old chief executive Adriano Galliani, were 16 points clear of the rest and will be in Serie A before you know it. Shevchenko also mentions Clarence Seedorf, Jaap Stam, Hernan Crespo and Andrea Pirlo, who recently completed his coaching badges at Coverciano, Italy’s Ivy League coaching school.

Just as members of Milan’s great team from the 1960s and beyond — Cesare Maldini, Giovanni Trapattoni, Gigi Radice, Nevio Scala and Albertino Bigon — found inspiration working under the mythical Nereo Rocco, the calm leadership of Carlo Ancelotti has encouraged his former players to make the transition from a life on the pitch to one in the dugout. “I think everyone who worked under Carlo took something from him,” Shevchenko says. He calls playing under him a “rite of passage”. To Shevchenko, the number of coaches Ancelotti nurtured provides another reason why that team got to three Champions League finals in five years from 2003. “It tells you there was more to us than just great players. We had smart people too.”

If the pandemic hadn’t caused the postponement of Euro 2020 until next summer, Shevchenko would have been in Bucharest this weekend preparing a game plan for Ukraine’s final group stage match against Austria. Elements of Milan have been incorporated into his coaching staff. Mauro Tassotti, the three-time European Cup-winning defender, left the Rossoneri after 36 years to become Shevchenko’s No 2. “He was the first person I chose when I decided to go and coach,” Shevchenko says. “I spoke to Galliani, who was still Milan’s chief executive at the time, and Berlusconi. I did everything to have Mauro by my side.” Andrea Maldera, Ukraine’s match analyst, is also Milan through and through. His father Gino and uncle Aldo won everything there is to win in red and black in the 1960s and Seventies.

The Milan mentality is evidently rubbing off on Ukraine. “We didn’t lose a game in qualifying,” Shevchenko recalls, “and we were in a group with Portugal, the European champions.” The future looks bright for Ukrainian football. As if topping a difficult qualifying group wasn’t already a source of considerable pride, winning the Under-20 World Cup in Poland last summer is yet more reason for optimism.

Spirits were high because of the momentum Ukraine had generated going into the Euros. Shevchenko says he was so looking forward to the tournament that it was initially difficult to accept the decision to reschedule it. “Psychologically, it was a good time for us. As a country, we live for these moments. Our league doesn’t have the profile of some of the others around Europe. The national team was doing well. Looking back though, there’s obviously nothing you can do about it.”

After succeeding Mykhaylo Fomenko in 2016, Shevchenko was clear about what he wanted to achieve. “At my first press conference I said, ‘Right, we’re going to change the way we play’. We used to counter-attack a lot. I wouldn’t say we were predictable but the structure of our play was totally different. We wanted to be more expansive and to have more control of the game through possession football, positive transitions. We wanted to be a team that creates lots of chances. Looking at our stats over the last three and a half years, the team has come on a lot in that regard.”

As the Premier League restarts, Shevchenko will be watching from his home in Surrey — and not just because Ancelotti is now calling the shots at Everton. “I think Frank Lampard deserves a lot of praise (for the job he is doing at Chelsea),” Shevchenko says. “You know why? He’s got courage. Lots of courage. Frank plays the kids. He believes in them.” And who knows if Lampard sticks around long enough and keeps promoting talent from within, maybe one day Kristian Shevchenko, Andriy’s 13-year-old son and a trainee at Chelsea’s academy, will begin to attract his attention.

Of the managers Shevchenko keeps notes on, it may come as a bit of a surprise to hear him name-check Jose Mourinho, given they only worked together for one season at Stamford Bridge. Nevertheless, Shevchenko insists: “I learned many things from Mourinho. The way he managed the team was very interesting.” We reflect on the Champions League game between Dynamo Kyiv and Mourinho’s Inter in 2009 when yet another Shevchenko goal — the 43-year-old is the most prolific player in the history of the Derby della Madonnina and still gives Milan’s rivals nightmares — threatened to end the Nerazzurri’s treble-winning season before it really got started, only for late strikes from Diego Milito and Wesley Sneijder to complete a famous comeback.

“Jose always finds something out of nothing,” Shevchenko says. “This is his mentality. You must always believe. You can turn a game around in the last second. There are lots of examples of big games being decided at the end, like Manchester United against Bayern in 1999. Two minutes is all it takes. Great teams have this mentality. When you coach top players, they have to believe games can come down to the last 10 seconds. If you believe that, you can even win the Champions League in stoppage time. Look at Carlo’s Real Madrid. This is the beauty of football, but you need to build the right mentality.”

While Ancelotti’s personal touch and man-management skills remain a key touchstone for Shevchenko, no one had a greater influence on him than the legendary Valeriy Lobanovskyi.

Arguably the most powerful image of Shevchenko’s career is of him returning to Kyiv after scoring the winning penalty in the 2003 Champions League final and placing the trophy on a bench next to a statue of the late coach known as The Colonel. It was a trip Shevchenko would make again a year later on emulating Oleg Blokhin, another of Lobanovskiy’s proteges, after France Football awarded him the Ballon d’Or. “It was very emotional for me,” Shevchenko recalls. “Lobanovskiy had passed away by the time I won the Champions League. I knew how much winning these trophies meant to him. My triumph was his triumph. I wanted to share it with him.”

Reflecting on their bond, Shevchenko says: “He was more a teacher than a father to me. I used to listen to him open-mouthed, hanging off his every word. He had a huge impact on me. Unbelievable. Lobanovskiy was very disciplined, a very intelligent person. He was interested in everything. I was at Milan in his later years. He coached the national team and every time I arrived for international duty he was there waiting for me in his office. I used to go in and see him straight away and we’d spend four or five hours just talking. He asked me to note down the training sessions we did at Milan. He was very interested in how training was developing in Italy; the load management, the importance of rest. Lots of things about the job.”

Lobanovskiy was a pioneer, applying science to football long before anybody else. When Shevchenko attended the Milan Lab, little of it was new to him. “The first coach to use physical data and performance metrics was Lobanovskiy,” he says. “He based everything on statistics. The maths never lies. You can have your own opinion but if the numbers on the sheet of paper say otherwise… Lobanovskiy was ahead of his time 40 years ago. He brought in scientists and put a team of them together. He created a model and wrote a programme that gave him precise data on heart rate, workloads, all kinds of different tests.”

One of them helps us better understand Shevchenko’s quick thinking and the alertness he used to show in front of goal.

“There was a test where you had to look at a blank computer screen on which different coloured squares would appear. If, for example, the square was red, I had to push a button on my right. If it was green, there was one to my left. It tested your reaction time and how you react to what you see. It’s simple but it gives you a data set that allows the manager to compare you to the other players. If you go to Dynamo Kyiv now, you’ll find all the results from the physical tests I did as a 10-year-old on a computer.”

Lobanovskiy turned a natural talent into a goal machine. Milan’s scouting report from the famous game at the Nou Camp in November 1997 when Shevchenko announced himself to the Champions League with a breathtaking hat-trick ended after a single paragraph with the line: “It’s superfluous to add anything else.” Italo Galbiati then signed off by engaging caps lock: “HE’S A MILAN PLAYER.” And not just that. Ukraine’s all-time top scorer would probably have become Milan’s record marksman too had he not left for Chelsea in 2006. Only Gunnar Nordahl stands above ‘Sheva’ in their record books.

Quite remarkable, isn’t it, when he couldn’t exactly rely on Inzaghi to set him up for any of those 175 goals.

We laugh in recollection at one in particular his old strike partner managed to score against Lyon, a classic Inzaghi number. “The one where I took a shot, hit the post, then the other post and he put it in! He was a grandissimo striker. It’s hard to find one like him, you know. His reading of the spaces in the penalty area was incredible. He knew where the ball was going to bounce.”

As for Pirlo, well, he knew exactly how to find them. “At the time I retired, Andrea was still playing at Juventus and one day I asked him, ‘Do you even sweat when you play?’ He was young when we were team-mates. Andrea used to run, but once he turned 30 he knew the game so well that he could walk and still do everything better than everybody else. He had the ability to read the moment, such a high football IQ.”

Naturally, training against Paolo Maldini and Nesta at Milanello kept him sharp too. “The games on a Sunday were the easy part,” Shevchenko recalls. “Carlo didn’t want us playing games in training. They were tough and competitive and you risked getting injured in them more than during a game. It’s the truth.”

Shevchenko will expect the same standards when Ukraine next get together. Following in the footsteps of a giant such as Lobanovskiy and coaching his country represents “a great honour and a big responsibility” for him.

And when the Euros finally come around next summer, they could be a revelation.

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On 10/04/2016 at 10:26 PM, the wes said:

Hopefully there won't be a vacancy for a long time. In any case, if I had my way, Jody would be up next if he wanted it, followed by Cesc. The time might never come for Andriy.

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  • 6 months later...
On 4/10/2016 at 11:26 PM, the wes said:

Now is the chance but no chance he drops EURO this summer for interim job.

On 4/16/2020 at 3:38 PM, NikkiCFC said:

 

This pretty much tells that he is not for this job.

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