If Lobanovskyi were alive: Ukrainian soccer players remember legendary coach

Kyiv, Mar 6 (EFE).- Late legendary Dynamo Kyiv and USSR national team coach Valeriy Lobanovskyi only spoke Russian, but remains a landmark in Ukraine, where players he trained have condemned the Russian invasion.

“If Lobanovskyi were alive, he would be on the front line,” Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko, who was part of the Soviet team that lost the 1988 Europa Cup final to the Netherlands, told Efe.

Even during the 2014 pro-European Maidan uprising, Lobanovskyi’s statue erected in front of the Dynamo stadium and located in the middle of the barricades was respected by both protesters and riot police.

Soccer stars like Mykhaylychenko, Yevgeny Yevtushenko or Volodymyr Bezsonov are upset that the Russian people remain silent as Russian troops invade Ukraine.

“Russia is a sick country. It’s a shame we’re neighbors. It has only brought us trouble. With the Russian people you cannot talk, they are zombies,” Mykhaylychenko said.

The Ukrainians are different from the Russians, who he said do not deserve to live on the same planet as the rest of the country.

“We don’t want to live with rednecks and uneducated Russians. We are other people. Russians are aliens,” he said.

Yevtushenko , who also played under Lobanovskyi, accuses Russian president Vladimir Putin of turning “the once peace-loving Russian people complicit in everything that happens in Ukraine over the past 10 years” through “propaganda” and “brainwashing”.

“Putin has committed the crime with the silent approval of the Russian people. If the Russians were not so passive, he would not have dared to take such a step. It is very sad that the Russian people are silent,” he added.

When a leader has been “in power for a long time, his head begins to fail,” he said.

“Those who have been in power for a long time become dictators. This is the case of Putin, (the Belarusian Alexandr) Lukashenko or (the Libyan Muammar el) Gaddafi,” he added.

Another Ukrainian soccer legend, Volodymyr Bezsonov, took a rifle and joined the territorial defense units.

“We don’t need the Russians here. We will defend our homeland and our houses,” he said in a video posted on social media.

Bezsonov , whose attitude has been highly praised by his compatriots, was Lobanovskyi’s wild card as he plays in any position. EFE


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