Right now it is difficult to recognize in the distressed figure of Oleksander Zinchenko (Radomyshl, Ukraine, 24 years old) the jovial player that he usually is at Manchester City. There is no room for jokes since he felt responsible for Kai Havertz’s goal in the Champions League final against Chelsea. Mason Mount deepened for the German forward after Timo Werner led Rúben Dias aside and the international full-back for Ukraine did not arrive in time to close the play that led to the goal and victory. blue. Zinchenko stayed crouched and disconsolate for a long time on the Porto court.
He had been one of the protagonists of the semifinal won against PSG, both in Paris and Manchester, congratulated even by Rúben Dias. And his season was phenomenal until Havertz’s goal. That move still torments him in the European Championship after the defeats against Austria and the Netherlands and the triumph with North Macedonia.
“Unfortunately, they have not been my best matches with the national team,” he reflects before the round of 16 against Sweden (21.00, Telecinco), the team that with its victory against Poland made it possible precisely for Ukraine to pass. “Although there is fatigue, more than physical it is a psychological problem,” he argued. “I don’t remember days worse than those that followed the final of the European Cup. I don’t like to excuse myself because it would be a sign of weakness. I always try to do my best and accept criticism because it will make me and the team stronger; that is why we want to rehabilitate ourselves before the whole country and the fans ”, Zinchenko added.
Nobody remembers the Show which was organized when Ukraine defeated Portugal and qualified for Euro 2020. Zinchenko did not stop celebrating the victory before the cameras and the party was complete in Kiev. The final phase was prepared with a strong symbolic charge that forces Ukraine not to disappoint. It is enough to remember the dispute with Russia over the inclusion of Crimea on the map of the country that illustrates its yellow and blue shirt and the slogans in favor of Ukraine. Zinchenko knows well what the conflict with Russia is about.
Born in Radomyshl, Zinchenko entered the Shakhtar Donetsk academy at age 12. Relationships were never easy, to the point that he refused to renew without making his professional team debut. Rubin Kazan’s interest was involved and war broke out in Donbas. It is not known whether on the advice of his mother or by his own decision, Zinchenko left Moscow at the age of 17. He was unable to play for six months and trained on the street waiting to resolve his situation with Shakhtar.
The club claimed that the player belonged to him and Zinchenko appealed to the CAS. The sentence allowed him to sign in 2015 for Ufa of Russia. And then came the 1.7 million offer from the City Football Group. The entity controls many promises that supply the teams that are around the City of Pep Guardiola. Zinchenko was in 2016 a young left-handed insider or a midfielder, international in the Ukrainian categories, who needed to fly before reaching the Etihad.
Although the transfer to PSV Eindhoven was unsuccessful, he stabilized in City as a left back, the position that Guardiola saw that it adapted to his characteristics and the functions requested by the team, after the passage of Delph, Danilo, Mendy or Cancelo. He was no longer moved by an offer from Wolverhampton. “It’s a sponge,” the coach replied when asked about Zinchenko and his ability to immerse himself in midfield, attack inside and out, and also to retreat, a complex task at City. Very few footballers feel so responsible, either as a figure in their national team or as a meritorious one in the City, middle or side, as Zinchenko.
Subscribe here to our special newsletter about Euro 2021