Every time a match is about to take place, Oleg Zinchenko’s heart aches. The sympathy given by all the players and spectators who were present at the stadium made the captain of the Ukrainian team shed tears. Imagine the pain felt by his brothers in Ukraine who had to survive the Russian military attack.
“Every time I finish training, I don’t feel like tears are falling. In the car I cried alone. However, I can do nothing to help my brothers in Ukraine,” said Zinchenko quietly when interviewed by English football star, Gary Lineker.
As a citizen of Ukraine, according to the Manchester City left-back, he is certainly called to go home and defend his country from opponent attacks. However, his brothers in Ukraine asked him not to return to his ‘homeland’.
Two children and wife are also considerations for Zinchenko to stay in England. However, whenever he heard the news about the military attack his nation had to face, his heart was saddened.
“Everything was in my head. The city where I was born, where I grew up is now razed to the ground,” said Zinchenko, who was born 25 years ago in Radomyshl, a town in northern Ukraine, facing the Belarus border.
One thing that made him strong was his belief in the resilience of his nation. The military attack that has been launched by Russia for more than two weeks, Zinchenko believes will not weaken the fighting spirit of the Ukrainian people.
“I know the mentality of my nation. They will fight to survive. They would rather die than give up. That’s what makes me proud to be Ukrainian,” said Zinchenko.
In the midst of the demands of professionalism to give the best to The Citizens, it is not an easy matter for Zinchenko to appear without feeling burdened. The problem is that a good football game can only be played with a happy heart, while in reality he is sad.
All Manchester City players understand the mental burden that must be carried by Zinchenko. Therefore, all players try to provide consolation and not add to the burden of their teammates in achieving the target treble in this season.
“It’s a difficult situation for him. That’s his country. His extended family lives there. You can imagine how upset he was. We, who are not Ukrainians, have a hard time there,” said City’s Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson.
According to Ederson, he and other players always try to strengthen Zinchenko’s heart. By all means, they try to comfort their comrades so as not to continue to dissolve in grief.
“Everything we tried to do to cheer him up. However, it’s still not an easy thing. I just hope that the war ends soon,” Ederson added.
However, the direction for the re-establishment of peace in Ukraine has not shown any signs of progress. After more than two weeks of war raging, what is seen is an increase in armed forces. The intensity of the fighting affected civil society groups.
Missile attacks are even now hitting maternity and pediatric hospitals. The number of child victims is also increasing. Meanwhile, 2 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee to neighboring countries in search of safety.
The pressure on Russia to stop the military offensive is also growing. Western countries tried to suppress by imposing economic sanctions. Not only was the financial system and trade with Russia suspended, but also the assets of Russian citizens were frozen.
One of those affected is Chelsea. Attempts by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to sell the Blues now constrained by the British government’s decision to freeze all assets belonging to the rich Russian.
The British government lists Abramovich as one of seven wealthy Russians who have benefited from his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The other six entrepreneurs are Igor Sechin, Oleg Deripaska, Andrey Kostin, Alexei Miller, Nikolai Tokarev, and Dmitri Lebedev. All of their assets are considered to have come from corruption or to get facilities from Putin so that the profits can be used to help the Kremlin government carry out destabilization in Ukraine.
One of Abramovich’s steel and mining companies, Evraz Plc, is said to be supplying steel for the manufacture of tanks in Russia. That fact prevented Abramovich from conducting any business transactions in England. Evraz’s stock value immediately fell 13%. The value of Abramovich’s assets in Evraz, which at the end of 2021 is still recorded at £1.4 billion, is down around £230 million this week.
The problem Chelsea face with Abramovich’s ban from any business activity is the survival and future of the club. Three players whose contracts will expire, namely Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Ruediger and Andreas Christensen, cannot sign contract extensions.
The situation is even more complicated because no money is allowed in and out of all business entities related to Abramovich. Not only players’ salaries and bonuses cannot be paid, the sale of Chelsea match tickets cannot be done.
Even sales merchandise Chelsea was forbidden to do so because the proceeds would go into Abramovich’s account which the Kremlin could then use to attack Ukraine. Only ticket holders will now be able to watch the match at Stamford Bridge, while on sale merchandise can only be done by third parties who have purchased the goods first before the sanctions are imposed.
Some companies are now trying to distance themselves from the Blues. Telecom company 3, or Three, chose to terminate the contract for fear of being carried away by economic sanctions. In fact, the value of the contract per year can reach 40 million pounds sterling.
Coach Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea players are aware of the situation chaos that they have to face. However, as Tuchel promised, he and all the players will remain fully concentrated on achieving the best results this season.
Thursday night Azpilicueta and his friends showed toughness by beating Norwich 3-1 in the Premier League. Tomorrow night, Chelsea will appear again to host Newcastle United.
The European and world champions still have two opportunities to lift the trophy this season, the Champions League and the FA Cup. Next week Chelsea will travel to home to Lille, France, to complete the Champions League last 16 match. Chelsea has asked the British government to allow the UK government to travel because according to budget restrictions, the Blues can only spend a maximum of 20 thousand pounds sterling travel. Funds of that amount would not be sufficient for the team to fly and live in Lille.