Oleksandr Zinchenko wanted to leave Man City during season to fight on Ukraine front line

Oleksandr Zinchenko had to be dissuaded from not returning to his beloved Ukraine to fight on the front line in the aftermath of Russia ’s invasion.

The Manchester City star guided his international teammates to within 90 minutes of the World Cup, after beating Scotland 3-1 at Hampden Park on Wednesday night. On an emotionally charged night, goals from Andriy Yarmolenko, Roman Yaremchuk and Artem Dovbyk set up a play-off final with Wales this weekend.

It was a short escape from the terror which has engulfed the nation since Russian president Vladimir Putin sanctioned the invasion of their neighbouring country. Zinchenko is arguably the most high-profile Ukranian in European football and has been extremely forward in ensuring the matter is kept in the public eye.

And the Sun report that the 25-year-old was actually planning to return to his homeland with his grandad and aunt refusing to join the thousands fleeing the country. He was ultimately convinced to stay in Manchester by family and friends, but has kept in regular contact with those back in Ukraine.

“I’ll be honest, if not for my daughter, my family, I would be there,” he told the BBC shortly after the invasion . “I’m just born like that. I know the people from my country, the mentality of them, and all of them, they think exactly the same.

“I’m so proud to be Ukrainian, and I will be forever for the rest of my life. And when you’re watching the people, how they fight for their lives. I know the people, the mentality of my people from my country, they prefer to die, and they will die. But they’re not going to give [up].”

Oleksandr Zinchenko conducted an emotional interview prior to Ukraine's win over Scotland

Oleksandr Zinchenko conducted an emotional interview prior to Ukraine’s win over Scotland

It is reported that Zinchenko has made a sizable donation to the national bank and has helped get vital supplies to the front line. He is also in contact with Ukrainian soldiers and plans to throw a huge party in the United Kingdom once the war is over.

But for now, the versatile Zinchenko is happy to provide a small bit of relief and now has full focus on getting Ukraine to the World Cup for just the second time.

“To be fair, everyone, of course, knows the situation right now in Ukraine and every single game for us is like a final game,” Zinchenko told Sky Sports. “But to be fair, we have dreamed like a team to be at the World Cup and we now have one more game, and we need to win it, otherwise this game is not going to mean anything.”

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JUNE 01: Oleksandr Zinchenko of Ukraine celebrates after their sides victory during the FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Scotland and Ukraine at Hampden Park on June 01, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ukraine and Zinchenko are now just 90 minutes away from the World Cup

He added: “I would say we played quite well, apart from maybe 20 minutes in the second-half. Scotland always leads a great team and they have unbelievable players in each line, so we knew it was going to be so tough.

“A team like Scotland play an open game, so it is not quite like our style, but we did well; we scored three goals and could have scored even more.

“It is going to be a massive game for us — everyone understands the situation for us. I would say that it is like a final and every single one of us needs to show our best performance in our lives and then we will see what is going to happen.”

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