Club legend Andriy Shevchenko has thanked all of those who supported the ‘AC Milan for Peace’ project to help those suffering from the crisis in his native Ukraine.
When Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, Milan decided to try to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Shevchenko’s homeland and a fundraising effort for the Ukrainian Red Cross was set up, featuring a replica shirt commemorating the Manchester 2003 Champions League win.
We are now months on from the initial invasion and the situation in Ukraine remains a frightening one, with Russian forces having left a trail of destruction that has decimated once proud and thriving places, such as Sheva’s home city.
Shevchenko spoke to Milan TV as part of his appearance at Casa Milan to lift the lid on what the money will go towards and also reveal his emotions after seeing the team lift the Scudetto at the end of last season, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
“I thank Fondazione Milan for the support it has given to Ukraine and all AC Milan fans who participated in the fundraising; we have created a beautiful project with the Council of Milan to help Ukrainian refugees and it is going well. All thanks to the Fondazione Milan and the Milan fans who participated. The whole world of sport responded well, not only with words but also with deeds,” he said.
What will be done with the funds raised?
“A few weeks ago I was in Irpin, Ukraine, where 80% of the population was destroyed. The stadium, where I used to play as a child, is completely destroyed: the grandstand, the changing rooms and the synthetic that is full of bomb holes; but there, when I went, children were playing on it.
“I asked the mayor what could be done for the city and he said to me: the stadium. I asked why, since there are no schools and hospitals and he replied that people are working hard and we need to give children the opportunity to play and practice sports.
“What we are doing with Fondazione Milan is a project, reminiscent of the Manchester final, a special moment for me – among the most beautiful of my career – and for the AC Milan fans. I want to thank everyone who bought this shirt.”
What are your thoughts on Italian football?
“Italian football is growing: there is more internal competition, the level of athleticism and intensity has risen a lot and there are many good matches. There are many Scudetto teams.”
What do you think of Pioli?
“Pioli did a great job; I have a lot of respect and admiration for him: he managed to transform the team into a winning team. It was wonderful to see Milan raise the Scudetto after so many years. It was a thrill to see so many AC Milan fans rejoice.”