The ongoing war is forcing Shakhtar Donetsk to take extra precautions. “On Saturday we were playing against Metalist, the sirens went off and we had to go back to the dressing room to resume the game 15 minutes later. We have to change hotels, coaches, we train with sirens, we travel with sirens. This is our life today and we have to accept it. We have to be an example, just like the army is an example for us. We play for our fans and for Ukraine,” says Shakhtar director of football Darijo Srna in an interview with Marca.
There is more to come. The journey to face Real Madrid in the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabéu: “Today [yesterday] we train, then we have 7-8 hours by coach to Poland because we are not allowed to fly from Ukraine and then another 4 hours by plane. We have a difficult life, but no player has ever complained or said he is tired.”
What hurts Srna most, however, is the lack of protection. “UEFA, through Ceferin, did everything they could to help us and Ukrainian football. FIFA, on the other hand, destroyed us. It didn’t protect us at any point. If Real Madrid, Sevilla, Barcelona or Bayern were in our situation, I am sure they would have helped them quickly. We are a team too and we have given a lot to European football in the last 20 years. I would like someone from FIFA to come to Ukraine, live with us and other teams and feel what it’s like to live with sirens and bombs.”