Saturday, August 30, 2008

Andrei Shevchenko – From a “living legend” to no one (“Who is he?”)!

Few years back when I asked a dummy if he knows Shevchenko he told me he’s the greatest striker ever. Most strikers in football are either a “fox in the box” kind of players or physically strong or good in aerial attacks but Shevchenko was one of the very few complete strikers who had all those ability instilled in him at that time. Recently I asked the same question to another dummy and his response was like “Who the hell is he?” That itself tells a story!

Shevchenko joined A.C. Milan in 1999 for a then-record transfer fee of $25 million. He made his Serie A debut on 28 August 1999 in a 2-2 draw with Lecce. He became the first foreign player to win the Serie A scoring title in his debut season, finishing with 24 goals in 32 matches. Scoring goals is never an easy task in Serie A and in spite of that he managed to capture everyone’s attention by his goal scoring ability.

He scored the then match deciding penalty that gave AC Milan their sixth champions league trophy, the icing on the cake was when Shevchenko was named the 2004 European Player of the Year, becoming the third Ukrainian player ever to win the award.

This was all achieved mainly due to the support given to him by AC Milan, the coach, teammates, technical staffs, management, and not forgetting the fans. He was adored by many Milan fans all over the world, including me.

The first thing that strikes ones mind upon coming across his name is the term “living legend”. He was deemed the next big thing after the great Marco Van Basten by the AC Milan faithfuls. He was the living legend in AC Milan Team along with the greats such as Paolo Maldini, Kaka, and Alessando Nesta.

When he was being treated like almost the prince of Milan, he had other ideas. He decided to leave Milan and join Chelsea mainly due to the fact that Chelsea offered more money and more than him, his wife was attracted more to it. The reason for him to leave was that, in Italy his children were not assured proper education whereas in England his children will be given better education. It seemed to be more like an excuse than a proper reason.

One of the fan actually pleaded shevchenko(shown in the picture) while he was in the stands asking him to be with Milan but it seemed to have gone to deaf ears as his move was confirmed.
He was never the same from the first game he played for Chelsea. He was unable to convert his chances to goals and something was clearly wrong. Initially it was thought the reason behind it was mainly due to the change in style from the Italian league to English league, but he was never able to adapt even after mid season. He was put in reserves and his carrier was taking a stinging blow at that point.

On 23 August 2008 it was announced that Shevchenko had re-joined AC Milan on a transfer deal from Chelsea. But whether or not will he be the same Shevchenko will only be answered after the season begins and as it progresses.


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Laxman.M said...

good post!!! no wonder u r a die hard ac milan fan...