Shevchenko discusses love for Italy; backs ‘stubborn’ Milan to get through COVID-19 emergency

By Oliver Fisher -

Former AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko has backed the city of Milano and Italy as a whole to get through the current coronavirus pandemic.

Shevchenko and Milan seem to be eternally linked. Shock reports emerged after Milan’s defeat to Fiorentina earlier in the season that the club were considering a bid to get Sheva to return as head coach.

The rumours persisted for a few days until it became apparent the club were targeting other options, meanwhile the ex-striker is determined to lead the Ukraine national team into Euro 2020, which has now been officially postponed due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Shevchenko gave a feature-length interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport about the worldwide response to the outbreak, and offered some tips as to how best to deal with the self isolation situation.

“I am very careful. I go to play golf, I train in the gym, but I avoid contacts as much as possible. It is about preserving everyone’s health. The health of the world,” he said (via Calciomercato.com).

“We must not reason with fear. We must look forward. I have a friend in Lombardy who has been ill, now he starts breathing on his own, but it was hard. Hot water, cups of tea, has lost a lot of pounds, but is coming around.”

On the postponement of the Euros, he added: “It seems to me a correct decision. Football is a party for people, but if people aren’t there, or are they afraid, what party is it?

“UEFA has chosen the best solution to protect the health of players and fans, and the show. Football exists as a sport that attracts people, it is difficult to live it from a distance.

“The Italian government have moved well. Then someone will talk about delays or whatever, but it seems to me that there has been a positive awareness. Young people are young. Maybe they didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation. You have to have the strength to close, in some moments it is essential, as a community and as individuals.

“Italy is a happy country, people are used to going out, to interacting. It took time to understand. However, it seems to me that the choices were made at the right times and that people adapted. But as you can see, the Italian model is now followed by everyone. Stay indoors if you can. And even if you can’t. Try it. You can do many things.

“In summary: stay home, stay home, stay home. My ex-mates? I hear them often. Paolo Maldini, Pirlo, Costacurta. And Bobo Vieri, how many fun things he does. I also follow him on Instagram, he is a volcano of activities. Milan is always in my heart, like my friends.

“Milan has a big heart and also great hospitals. I know from experience: doctors and nurses are very good, competent and hard workers. They will make it even if they are in difficulty. Italy will make it. I love Italy so much, it is my second country.

“I don’t divide it between Milan, Inter and Juventus fans, just as I don’t divide Milano among those who support Milan or Inter, and not only because everyone in Milan has always treated me with sympathy. I love Milan, I love Italy, I have no doubt that the worst will pass. Italy has only paid the price of being the first European country to face the emergency.”

The interview ended with Sheva putting forward some recommendations of old games to watch while in self isolation.

“The final at Old Trafford, Champions League, Milan-Juve. But also the final of the 2006 World Cup. Or for the Milanese many derbies, always with the idea that there will be even better ones. Because Italy is strong in difficulties, and Milan is stubborn as well as being beautiful.”

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Tags AC Milan Andriy Shevchenko