Andriy Shevchenko talks football and the power of sport
Andriy Shevchenko, one of the most prolific goalscorers in football history, has been named the newest Laureus Sport for Good Foundation Ambassador at an event in London. A popular player with Dynamo Kiev and Chelsea, it was with AC Milan that Andriy made his mark as a prolific goalscorer with 175 goals in 296 games. He is also the record goalscorer for his national team Ukraine, with 48 goals in 111 games.
Why are you happy to be a Laureus Ambassador?
First of all, I'm very proud to be an Ambassador with the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. It's a fantastic Foundation and I'm very proud to be part of this family. I think the Street League project, where I am today and which is supported by Laureus, is very important for young people from 16 to 25 to find a job and a better future. Today was a very good day, sitting in the classroom and also playing football. It’s great for me.
How did football affect your life when you were young?
I can talk from my experience because when I was in Kiev I came through the football education. Football gave me a lot of opportunities in life and it's very important in the social life too. It’s not just about playing, but also helping connect with other people. We can do a lot more for young kids, and also, it's a part of my education and the reason why I'm here.
Why is football such a good sport to help young people?
Football is such a good sport because it is one universal language. It's just about playing the ball. Socially, it places everyone at the same level, whatever your age, your education or the language you speak. Socially, it's so important when you have people from different countries, from different jobs playing the football and sharing something together.
Did you enjoy interacting with people from the Street League project today?
I enjoyed being here and it was a great experience to meet these guys and share a moment with them. I tried to talk and help them a little bit with my sport experience, my life experience, to come through the tough moment and to believe in themselves. Confidence is important to find the job; to behave yourself in community life and finally to find your way in life.
Can you pick one moment from your career that you would say is your greatest?
Winning the Champions League 2002/2003. It was a very intense game at Old Trafford. The penalty [which he scored to win the penalty shoot-out] was part of the inspiration and I finally won the Champions League which is what I've been dreaming since I was a kid.
You've played with some of the greatest coaches including José Mourinho. What was it like playing for him?
I've been lucky to work with many good managers: Ancelloti, Cesare Maldini, Lobanovskyi, José Mourinho. Of course, all of them gave me a lot. José, for example, is very professional in every detail and he knows very well how to reach his goals like the Champions League final. It’s what he does and it’s very important to make sure the small details are working very well. I think that José is one of the best managers to keep your attention, to keep you focused on the small details. In the end, he makes you a winner.
As a former winner of the Ballon d’Or, do you think that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are favourites to win another?
Of course. I think in the last five years they have shown they are two great players. The quality they produce is amazing. But to win the Ballon d'Or again, I think that Messi, after Barcelona won the Champions League, has the pole position. I'm sure they will score around 50 to 70 goals again this season.
Any other player you would add with Messi and Ronaldo as a strong contender this year?
Quite difficult. Eden Hazard had a great season for Chelsea who won the Premier League. But there's no great start for him this season and for Chelsea. But I'm sure he'll come back. He's one that they can count on for the next five, six years. I think he can win.