Shevchenko: “Milan, Fonseca is a good choice, but now you need a striker”


Legendary Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko believes the Rossoneri have made a good decision in appointing Paulo Fonseca, but also need a top striker. The former Ukrainian international, who now serves as the head of the countries Football Association, spoke with La Gazzetta dello Sport about his role, the upcoming EURO’s and his former club:

Andriy, what kind of year has it been for your country in terms of football?

“A wonderful year. We completed two championships despite the war that has been going on for two and a half years, and for the first time, our national team also qualified for the Olympics. We have many collapsed stadiums, but we resist, and there are people who still invest in football. For us, the expression ‘we can’t do it’ does not exist. We send a strong message: Ukraine wants to live and go beyond, not just think about resisting.”

Goals for the European Championship?

“Getting past the group stage, I believe it’s an achievable feat for us, then we will see. We are the youngest team in the tournament, but we have chances. And we have great motivations, we play for a people who never give up.”

Sheva phase 1, 2, 3: player, coach, and president. After so many emotions, how do you find yourself?

“I’m learning a new job. I’m interested in creating a system, we monitor our young players everywhere. It takes a staff attentive to everything. The thing that makes me most proud is the growth of all the teams even at the youth level. Now many of our boys play outside of Ukraine, a condition that has made them grow.”

And the foreign coaches who have come to Ukraine, from Lucescu onwards, how much have they helped?

“A lot. For us, it has been a benefit. Then the great improvement came when many of ours went to play abroad. Although when it comes to facing complicated leagues like the Italian one, you have to be cautious, especially if you are very young.”

You succeeded with some success…

“I already had some results behind me, I had scored goals against Real Madrid and Barcelona and had a great club behind me.”

Fonseca, who coached Shakhtar in Ukraine, will be the next coach of Milan. A good choice?

“I don’t know if it’s official or not, but I can say that Paulo worked well in Ukraine and left a mark. He is a competent and decent person. A serious person. Then I don’t know what Milan’s plans are and what his are. They will talk about it, I presume.”

Milan’s priority, the purchase of a great striker?

“It seems logical to me after Giroud’s departure. Giroud, a true center forward, did fabulous things even at Milan. Replacing him will not be easy. Without him, another true forward is needed, capable of guaranteeing 16-17 goals. The team’s problem lately has been the strikers who score little.”

Lukaku, who is also liked by the new Napoli, would he be a good choice?

“We know Lukaku’s characteristics. As I said, it depends on how the coach intends to play.”

Ukrainian players you would recommend?

“Many. Tsyngakov, Mudryk, Dovbyk.”

All already established by now…

“It can happen to find one in an unknown team that immediately becomes a top, but it is not a frequent case.”

Of your many Ukraines, is this the best?

“It is certainly the one that has more solutions available. It is a generation rich in variations, with two very strong goalkeepers. But it is the ability to vary that I like and I like how the coach makes the team play.”

Rebrov, your twin in Dynamo Kiev’s attack. Do you intervene in technical choices?

“Of course not. I do my best to provide him with what he needs, and I underline that I am proud of the results of our organization. Do you know there are matches that started on Saturday and ended on Sunday? Ten minutes, then the alarm, back to the locker room, resumption, and so on. But Ukrainians do not give up. This is the message we want to send. Collaborating with friendly federations and allowing children and young coaches to grow.”

Shevchenko, your favorites for the European Championship?

“England, France, Spain, Italy, which has many variations, Germany. But also Belgium, Croatia, and a very solid Austria are good teams.”

And your Ukraine?

“We think about getting past the group stage and then we go step by step.” In his career, he has always done so.


Serie A obsessive.