Robert Lewandowski meets Andriy Shevchenko and makes Ukraine pledge
Robert Lewandowski vows to ‘carry Ukraine’s colors to the World Cup’ as Andriy Shevchenko presents the Poland captain with a blue and yellow captain’s armband in the meeting with top goalscorers
- Ukrainian football legend Shevchenko presented Polish captain Lewandowski with a captain’s armband in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag
- The war-torn country did not qualify for the World Cup in Qatar this winter
- But Barcelona striker Lewandowski promised to represent them at the final
- The neighboring countries co-hosted the EC in 2012
- Poland took in thousands of Ukrainian refugees after Russia invaded in February
- Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
Robert Lewandowski has vowed to ‘carry Ukraine’s colors to the World Cup’ after an emotional encounter with legend Andriy Shevchenko.
The war-torn country failed to reach the finals in Qatar, losing to Wales in a play-off, but Poland captain and Barcelona forward Lewandowski will ensure their neighbors and friends will be part of the tournament.
Shevchenko, the former striker who scored 48 goals in 111 appearances for Ukraine during a glittering career, presented Lewandowski with a captain’s armband in the blue and yellow colors of Ukraine’s flag at Warsaw’s national stadium.
Ukrainian legend Andriy Shevchenko (left) presented Poland captain Robert Lewandowski with a captain’s armband in his country’s colors so he can symbolically wear them to the World Cup
Lewandowski has been involved in relief efforts since Ukraine was invaded by Russia
Lewandowski, 34, said: ‘I believe that as athletes we should use the power of sport for good.
‘I will take Andriy’s armband to the World Cup in November as a reminder that the Ukrainian people are not alone and not forgotten.
‘It means a lot to me to stand here with Andriy, a footballer and a man who has used his voice and platform to affect positive change.’
Lewandowski, a Laureus Exceptional Achievement Award recipient, has supported victims of the Ukraine war ever since Russia invaded the country in late February.
He lobbied for the postponement of Poland’s international match against Russia and has worn an armband in Ukraine’s colors when he was captain of his former club Bayern Munich.
Shevchenko played 111 times for Ukraine and was also national team manager until 2021
The two goal-scoring greats embrace as they meet at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland
Shevchenko, who also managed Ukraine’s national side between 2016 and 2021, said: ‘For me, the captain’s armband is a symbol of leadership, strength and passion for your country.
‘I would like to give this armband to Robert to thank him for his support, voice and platform to support my country and call for peace.’
He added: ‘When I captained Ukraine, the armband meant everything to me – whether I played my club football in Italy or England, it always linked me to Ukraine.
‘Since the war began, I have again been able to represent my country and I have seen athletes all over the world use their platform to support the victims of the invasion of Ukraine.
A Ukrainian unit rides tanks as they retake territory taken by Russia earlier in the conflict
The conflict has caused enormous devastation to Ukraine with thousands of civilians killed
Ukraine narrowly missed out on a place at the World Cup, losing to Wales in a play-off
‘I would like to thank Robert Lewandowski for this act of solidarity and for all his work on behalf of my country – and I also thank the entire sports world for their response to this crisis.
‘What I have seen is proof that sport has the power to change the world.
“There is a special relationship between Ukraine and Poland. I have visited refugee projects here through my work with Laureus Sport for Good, and Robert Lewandowski’s compassion can be seen across the country.’
Poland hosted the European Championship in 2012 together with Ukraine. The country took in thousands of Ukrainian refugees who were forced to flee when Vladimir Putin’s armies rolled into the country on 27 February.
Ukraine’s forces have recaptured hundreds of square kilometers of occupied territory and liberated key towns in recent weeks as the conflict swings in their favor.