The grief-stricken Oleksandr Zinchenko has expressed his hopes of making Ukraine proud of qualifying for the World Cup as the conflict with Russia continues.
Zinchenko lifted the Premier League title with Manchester City in early May, three months after Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine following tensions between the two countries.
The 25-year-old has handed the English top-flight victory to the locals and is now looking to bring more success to Ukraine when they face Scotland in the World Cup play-offs.
A delayed play-off match on Wednesday will mark Ukraine’s exit for the first time since the start of the Russian conflict, in which the winner of the match against Scotland faces Wales place in Qatar.
Zinchenko shed tears as he addressed a news conference on Tuesday, expressing his desire to make Ukraine proud again.
“Every Ukrainian wants one thing – to end this war,” he said.
“I have spoken to people from different countries, all over the world and I have spoken to Ukrainian children who do not understand what is happening back in Ukraine.
“They want an end to war, they have one dream to stop the war.
“When it comes to football, team, we have our dream. We want to go to the World Cup, we want to give the Ukrainian people this wonderful feeling because they deserve it so much at this time.”
Hampden Park will host a play-off match and Scottish fans will be provided with a translated version, provided with the Duolingo language learning app, of the Ukrainian national anthem to show their support.
Zinchenko was quick to thank Scotland for their warm welcome to Glasgow, as he suggested that the Ukrainian conflict could happen in any country.
“I would also like to say that most countries probably do not understand that – today it is Ukraine but tomorrow it could be you,” he added.
“So we need to be united and totally defeat the attack. I am sure the whole of Ukraine will be watching. We will feel support.
“We can talk a lot, but we need to prove everything on the field. We will try to make our people happy and proud.”