Oleksandr Zinchenko and Vitaliy Mykolenko shared an emotional embrace before Everton vs Manchester City on Saturday night.
Every event in the sporting calendar over the last few days has been overshadowed by the unfolding situation in Ukraine with Russia’s invasion having sparked untold suffering and distress.
The people of Ukraine are at the forefront of people’s minds right now and that will especially be the case for those who call the European nation their home.
Ukraine’s Zinchenko and Mykolenko
Zinchenko and Mykolenko form part of the Premier League‘s Ukrainian contingent, along with Andriy Yarmolenko, so the worrying events of the week must have felt particularly harrowing and affecting for them.
The pair were born in the Ukrainian cities of Radomyshl and Cherkasy respectively and have sported their nation’s yellow and blue jersey 69 times between them.
And it just so happened that the two Ukrainian internationals were lining up against each other in this weekend’s Premier League fixtures with Zinchenko’s City making the trip to Mykolenko’s Everton.
Zinchenko and Mykolenko share emotional embrace
However, while the two players might have been divided by their club colours at Goodison Park, they most certainly weren’t divided by their mood and sentiment regarding the crisis in their homeland.
That’s because the two compatriots were seen embracing one another during the warm-ups in an evidently emotional moment where no doubt each player appreciated the other’s support.
Amazing moment at Goodison Park between Zinchenko and Mykolenko 🇺🇦 😢 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/8cdozCocnw— Arlo White 💙 (@arlowhite) February 26, 2022
Man City's Zinchenko & Everton's Mykolenko embrace during the warm-up 🇺🇦 🙏 pic.twitter.com/NjgrQOTlOf— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 26, 2022
It’s in moments like this that football really does feel irrelevant.
Zinchenko on the Ukraine crisis
According to Standard Sport, Zinchenko had given his thoughts on the crisis earlier in the week by writing on social media: “The whole civilised world is worried about the situation in my country.
“I can’t stay back and strive to put my point across. In the photo – my country. The country where I was born and raised. A country whose colours I defend in the international sports arena. A country that we try to glorify and develop.
“A country whose borders must remain inviolable. My country belongs to Ukrainians and no one will ever be able to appropriate it. We will not give up! Glory to Ukraine.”
Before kick-off, Everton and City’s players came together in a show of support for Ukraine by wearing the nation’s flag and t-shirts with a ‘No War’ message respectively.