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Ballon d'Or

'I am so proud' - Ukraine legend Shevchenko gives powerful tribute to war-torn home country at Ballon d'Or ceremony

23:42 GMT+4 17/10/2022
Andriy Shevchenko Ballon d'Or Ceremony 2022
Former Ukraine international and Ballon d'Or winner Andriy Shevchenko gave a powerful speech at the 2022 ceremony before presenting the women's award.
  • Shevchenko presented Ballon d'Or Feminin award
  • Gave powerful speech citing his pride
  • Also called for action to help Ukraine

WHAT HAPPENED? Former AC Milan, Chelsea and Dynamo Kyiv striker Andriy Shevchenko was tasked with presenting the award for the 2022 Ballon d'Or Feminin. The Ukrainian took the opportunity to speak out about the war ravaging his home country, in what was a powerful and moving speech at the Theater du Chatelet.

WHAT THEY SAID: In his introduction to the women's award, Shevchenko underlined the pride he felt for his people fighting back home. "It has been a very difficult moment since the war started," he said. "I am so proud with how my country defend and fight for their freedom."

The 46-year-old also stressed the need for aid to Ukraine, stating: "It is very important to remember the war is still going but most important to stay behind Ukraine and help."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Shevchenko's words rang true as war continues to plague Ukraine following Russia's invasion of the country. It was a stark reminder of things more important than football, as players around the world gathered to celebrate the game's best players. In the women's category, Shevchenko awarded the Ballon d'Or Feminin to Alexia Putellas, who was triumphant for the second consecutive year.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

DID YOU KNOW? Putellas is the first player to win the award twice since it was created in 2018, overtaking previous winners Ada Hegerberg (2018) and Megan Rapinoe (2019), who have one win each.

WHAT NEXT FOR SHEVCHENKO? Out of football since his sacking from Genoa in January 2022, Shevchenko will undoubtedly continue his voice against the war in his home country. Ukraine, meanwhile, are next in action against England in the Euro 2026 qualifiers on March 26, having failed to qualify for Qatar 2022.