Srna: We have our duty to Ukraine and that is to play football
Shakhtar Director of Football and club legend Darijo Srna spoke to Daily Mirror about team's current situation.
“Football is something which unites the people and Ukraine is a nation which loves sport. We are going to show all the world that we are still alive and are fighting on the pitch for Ukraine. Just like are soldiers who are on the frontline, we have our duty to Ukraine and that is to play football.
I am so proud that Shakthar will be the club who will represent Ukraine in the Champions League group stage. Shakhtar is the only one club in the history of football who are going through this situation. In 2014, Russia took our home and this year, they put us out of Ukraine.
But we are still alive and it will be an honour for us to represent Ukraine in the group stage of the Champions League.
This is our small but important victory; we have been taken away from our home two times but we are still alive – we are still in the Champions League, and there are no Russian clubs in that competition.
I never want to mix sports and politics but unfortunately this time, I agree that Russian clubs cannot play in European competitions due to the situation right now. No Ukrainian sportsperson has done anything to suffer any of this, but it is Russia who is the aggressor and the terrorist. Russia are killing our children and our friends, they are killing our citizens.
I have been at Shakhtar since 2003; I have had teammates from 25 different nations and not one of them had any problems in Donestk or Ukraine. The nationality or the race did not matter, because the people here are so friendly.
The people of Donestk are like my family, they opened the door of their house for me and I am proud that today I am standing beside them and fighting for Ukraine.”