Andrei Shevchenko (pictures), one of the most bodacious strikers of present-day football, a leader of Ukraine’s national team, is leaving AC Milan. The announcement about Shevchenko’s transfer to English champion Chelsea came less than two weeks prior to the start of the 2006 World Cup.
Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich got the Milan striker to say “yes” to his moving for London. The owner of the Italian super football club Silvio Berlusconi is, without doubt, greatly disappointed at the decision of the team’s best striker. In a statement released on Friday, AC Milan said the management would not hold Shevshenko back yet Chelsea would pay a handsome sum for the striker.
Ukraine coached by Oleg Blokhin beat fellow World Cup qualifier Costa Rica 4-4 in a World Cup warm-up on Sunday. The Ukrainians won the game impressively even without using their top player Shevchenko. According to official statement, the 29-year-old leader of the Ukrainian national team had to skip the warm-up due to a small injury. In actuality, Shevchenko is now busy on issues relating to his new employment. Italian newspapers broke the news on Saturday as Shevchenko indicated he agreed to his moving to London to play for Chelsea.
Roman Abramovich had been long rumored to show interest in buying Milan’s best striker of recent years. Notwithstanding the rumors, the Milan fans could not imagine Andrei leaving the team. Shevchenko transferred to AC Milan from Kiev’s Dinamo seven years ago. It is the Milan club that propelled him to worldwide popularity. Shevchenko repeatedly said that he would like to consummate his entire career in Italy. Shevchenko was on good terms with Milan’s president Silvio Berslusconi, the former prime minister of Italy – a rather fortunate circumstance to boost his ambitions. Berlusconi not only gave expensive presents to his team’s best player, he also introduced Shevchenko to Kristen Pazik, an American model that eventually became the footballer’s wife.
Shevchenko’s wife is rumored to have persuaded him to accept the offer of Roman Abramovich.
In a statement posted on AC Milan’s web site on Friday, the club’s management says they are very much upset at the striker’s decision but no action will be taken to prevent him from leaving Milan. The English club will have to pay handsomely for Shevchenko because the striker’s contract with Milan is due to expire in three years only. Milan indicated that under the circumstances it was going to make the most of Shevchenko’s transfer. The Milan management will agree on the deal if the other party is ready to cough up 50 million euros plus Chelsea’s defender William Gallas in exchange for Shevchenko.
Silvio Berluscuni expressed his utter disappointment about Shevchenko’s transfer. He believes there is something wrong going on in AC Milan. “There’s obviously something wrong about the club if heroes like Andrei Shevchenko are leaving the team. Something just broke down in our mechanism. And I need to address the issue ASAP,” said Berlusconi. In any case, the deal is to be finalized before the World Cup kicks off later this month. It is for the first time in its history that Ukraine has qualified for a world football championship.
Translated by Guerman Grachev
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