Man City star Zinchenko pledges Ukraine support

Ukraine international defender Oleksander Zinchenko has issued his support for his homeland in an Instagram post

Manchester City’s Ukrainian international defender Oleksander Zinchenko says that his homeland will never give up” as tensions heat up with neighboring Russia.

Zinchenko, who became Ukraine’s youngest-ever captain when he took the armband for a March 2021 game against France, announced in a lengthy Instagram post Tuesday night that he can’t stand back” as the dispute escalates. 

Writing on the social media platform alongside a map of Ukraine to his more than 1.4 million followers, Zinchenko said that the country belongs to Ukrainians”.

“The whole civilized world is worried about the situation in my country, wrote Zinchenko, via translation. I can’t stay back and strive to put my point across. In the photo – my country. The country where I was born and raised. 

“A country whose colors I defend in the international sports arena. A country that we try to glorify and develop. A country whose borders must remain inviolable.

“My country belongs to Ukrainians and no one will ever be able to appropriate it. We will not give up! Glory to Ukraine.”

Zinchenko began his career with Russian side FC Ufa after moving to Russia following the outbreak of the Donbas War in 2014, making 33 appearances for the Russian Premier League team across all competitions before joining Manchester City in 2016. 

He has appeared for Pep Guardiola’s team 115 teams in his six seasons in England, winning three Premier League titles, four league cups and a single FA Cup. 

He was also named as the Ukrainian Player of the Year in 2019. 

Guardiola, meanwhile, said earlier this month that he plans to hold talks with Zinchenko after admitting that his player was “concerned” about the situation. 

“We will have [a meeting] for sure, but we haven’t had it because we have only had three or four days together and with the injury we are focused on that,” Guardiola said in a press conference in early February.

“Every human being, when something happens in their country, we are concerned. Around the world these kinds of things happening in the 21st century is so depressing,” added the Spaniard.

“When a decision is made for geopolitical interest, it is difficult to accept it. At the end, neighbors countries, being together could be stronger, but unfortunately what has happened has happened.

“I will speak with Oleks, he will know the situation better than myself.”

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