Man City had to dissuade Oleksandr Zinchenko from returning home to fight on the Ukrainian front during the Prem season

OLEKSANDR ZINCHENKO had to be prevented from going home to the front lines when war broke out in Ukraine earlier this year.

The Manchester City ace led his country to within a win of the World Cup with a brilliant performance against Scotland on Wednesday.

Oleksandr Zinchenko was advised against returning to Ukraine to defend his country against Russia

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Oleksandr Zinchenko was advised against returning to Ukraine to defend his country against RussiaPhoto credit: Rex
Zinchenko has been working behind closed doors to support efforts at home

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Zinchenko has been working behind closed doors to support efforts at homePhoto credit: AFP

But he was heartbroken by the scenes from his homeland after Russia invaded in February.

And he was concerned for his family’s well-being – as his grandfather and aunt refused to join the thousands fleeing the country.

The 25-year-old was keen to go and help his people – but was persuaded by family and friends to stay in the North West and keep playing for City.

In the meantime he has played his part in keeping the sad plight of his country in the public eye.

He wrapped the Prem trophy in a blue and yellow flag after helping City win it on a memorable final day of the season last month.

But he has also worked quietly in camera to help in any way he can.

Early on a match day in the city, he sent a message to a friend to ask if he could help load the trucks bringing the necessary equipment back to Ukraine.

He has also made a sizeable donation to the National Bank and has teamed up with another footballer to take vital supplies to the front lines.

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On his days off, he was also in regular contact with Ukrainian soldiers who are helping to defend their country.

He has already promised them that once the war is over he will throw them a big party in Manchester.

For now, though, he needs to get his focus back on football with a World Cup decider against Wales on Sunday in Cardiff.

He said: “It’s going to be a massive game for us – everyone understands the situation for us.

“I would say it’s like a final and each and every one of us has to put on the best performance of our lives and then we’ll see what happens.”

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/5477087/oleksandr-zinchenko-ukraine-man-city-war-fighting/ Man City had to dissuade Oleksandr Zinchenko from returning home to fight on the Ukrainian front during the Prem season

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