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Shakhtar Donetsk

Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian players return to their homeland following Russia invasion

17:19 WAT 01/03/2022
SHakhtar Donestsk Ukraine Brazil
The Ukrainian club have successfully evacuated a total of 12 players amid the ongoing military conflict in the country

Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian players have returned to their homeland following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian club's Brazilian players had been seeking to leave the country since the start of the military conflict last week, with all games in their 2021-22 Premier League schedule cancelled until further notice.

Head coach Roberto De Zerbi has been able to head back to his native Italy, and Shakhtar announced on Monday that 12 first-team players have also been successfully evacuated, including Maycon, Dodo, Fernando and Pedrinho.

What's been said?

The quartet joined the rest of the squad in Romania at first but flew back to Brazil on Tuesday, and received a warm welcome from their family, friends and supporters at Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo.

Reporters were also present for their homecoming, with Maycon expressing their collective relief after escaping the warzone in Ukraine.

“It was a mixture of feelings, of sadness, of terror, of all the words that demonstrate this, and then a relief, a gratification for having managed to leave, all well, without any fright,” he said.

Pedrinho added on the ordeal: “What I want most is to be with my family, with my parents.

"Every time I spoke to them, I always said goodbye, because I didn’t know if it would be the last time. So I want to get home, be with my daughter.

"These were regrettable scenes and I hope that no one goes through this."

Shakhtar, meanwhile, have released an official statement thanking UEFA for their help in moving the players out of Ukraine safely.

"We want to thank for the assistance everyone who took part in this process," the statement reads.

"The evacuation of the players was made possible thanks to the personal assistance of Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, the Ukrainian Football Association President Andrii Pavelko and the Moldovan Football Federation President Leonid Oleinichenko."

Sao Paulo cautious on David Neres pursuit

Shakhtar and Brazil winger David Neres had also been caught up in the harrowing events in Ukraine, which has delayed the decision he was due to make on his future.

GOAL understands that Sao Paulo have made an approach to sign the 24-year-old on loan, with the transfer window in Brazil still open until April 16.

Sao Paulo will now proceed with caution in light of the stress Neres has been through over the past few days, but they are planning to re-open negotiations with a view to ironing out final contract details with the Shakhtar star before he is cleared to return to Ukraine.

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