Oleksandr Zinchenko was visibly emotional before Manchester City’s Premier League clash with Everton on Saturday evening.
The alarming developments in Ukraine this week have really put sport into perspective with everyone in football joining together in their thoughts and prayers for those caught up in the conflict.
Understandably so, the worrying scenes in Ukraine have had a particularly deep effect on those who call the European nation their home with Zinchenko proving one such person.
Born in the Ukrainian city of Radomyshl and having played 48 times as a full international for his country, Zinchenko will be feeling the impact of the conflict in ways entirely unique and personal to him.
As such, the 25-year-old must have been flooded with different emotions when he prepared for City’s latest Premier League game amidst the backdrop of so much suffering in his homeland.
However, he most certainly wasn’t alone on Saturday night with everyone in attendance at Goodison Park showing their love and support for Zinchenko as well as the nation of Ukraine as a whole.
Powerful scenes at Goodison Park
Zinchenko shared an emotional moment with his compatriot Vitaliy Mykolenko during the warm-ups and was moved when both sets of fans paid tribute to Ukraine before the first whistle was blown.
The City man could be seen in tears on the sideline as his teammates lined up in ‘No War’ t-shirts, while Ukrainian flags and iconography were on display around all four corners of Goodison Park.
The Toffees tweeted before kick-off: “The Club, players and fans are together in standing with Ukraine,” with their squad lining up for the game draped in the yellow and blue of the Ukrainian flag.
Marry that to a passionate applause and palpable atmosphere of togetherness for truly moving scenes on Merseyside that transcended the 90 minutes of football that were about to be played.
Heartbreaking to see Oleksandr Zinchenko in tears before kick-off as both teams show their support for Ukraine 💔 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/bZYNyziMSh— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 26, 2022
It truly was poignant, emotional and heartwarming to see everyone coming together for something so, so much bigger than sport.
Support for Ukraine
There has been an outpouring of support for Ukraine in light of the recent developments on the continent with the scenes before Everton vs City proving just one example across sport in the past few days.
Poland, for instance, have declared that they will boycott their upcoming FIFA World Cup play-off against Russia with everyone from Robert Lewandowski to Wojciech Szczęsny releasing passionate statements.
Manchester United and Watford were also seen displaying a banner depicting the word ‘peace’ in multiple languages before their Premier League clash at Old Trafford earlier on Saturday.
Football and sport in general seldom feels more immaterial in harrowing moments like these, but there are ways, no matter how minute, that the beautiful game can help to bring people together nevertheless.