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Ukraine-Russia crisis

'Oleks is incredible' - Guardiola praises Zinchenko and says Ukrainian is ready to play despite Russian invasion

10:42 PM MYT 25/02/2022
Oleksandr Zinchenko Man City 2021-22
Manchester City boss says the dressing room is united behind the defender after watching the destruction in his home country

Pep Guardiola says Oleksandr Zinchenko is ready to play for Manchester City despite the defender being "worried" by Russia's invasion of his home country Ukraine.

Russia military convoys have begun entering neighbouring Ukrainian soil from all directions on the orders of president Vladimir Putin.

Zinchenko has been training with the first team squad and Guardiola has spoken to him and team-mate Fernandinho, who joined from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk, to give them unconditional support and ensure they are in the right frame of mind to play if needed.

What has been said?

"These are the headlines all around the world and he's concerned," Guardiola told reporters ahead of Saturday's clash with Everton.

"Oleks is an incredibly strong guy, a really brilliant guy. Of course it's not easy at the moment but in training he was brilliant so he's ready to play if he has to. Of course, the team and the club is close to him, unconditionally."

How has Zinchenko reacted?

Zinchenko posted a message on Instagram saying: “The whole civilised world is worried about the situation in my country," and added: "My country belongs to Ukrainians and no one will ever be able to appropriate it."

Then on Thursday, he joined a vigil in Manchester city centre to show support for his country.

The 25-year-old has 48 caps for Ukraine and is married to Vlada Sedan, who is a presenter on Ukraine TV.

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