Andriy Yarmolenko makes heartbreaking comments about Ukraine invasion

West Ham forward Andriy Yarmolenko has admitted that playing football has kept him from going “crazy” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As war continues in his home country, the Ukrainian star has spoken publicly for the first time since the invasion took place on February 24.

Yarmolenko was granted compassionate leave by West Ham shortly after the invasion. He missed four games, before returning off the bench to score the winner for the Hammers in a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.

Four days later, he then netted another winning goal. This time, it was in a 2-0 win over Sevilla in the Europa League last 16 stage.

YouTube video

But despite the occasion being a historic night, with Yarmolenko the hero of the hour, the Ukrainian’s thoughts were very much focused on the horrors that are occurring back home.

After the game, he gave his shirt to a young fan holding up the Ukraine flag.

Andriy Yarmolenko makes heartbreaking comments

Now, Andriy Yarmolenko has revealed how his family was heavily affected by Russia’s invasion – and what happened at training prior to his compassionate leave.

Speaking to Ukrainian YouTube channel Football 1/2/3 (quotes via Daily Mail), he revealed: “When it all started, on February 24, I arrived at training and I couldn’t even talk. I had tears flowing. I asked the coach to let me go home.”

He added: “I didn’t believe this could happen – I sent my family to Kyiv because my child had to have a doctor’s appointment.

“Can you imagine what I was like when it started the next morning? I just wanted to run and hit my head against a wall. What a fool I was sending my family to Kyiv, and I am sitting in London.”

Andriy Yarmolenko
Image Credit: Getty

Thankfully, Yarmolenko has been able to get his family back to London. He also reserved words for manager David Moyes, and says that “no-one will ever be able to break [Ukraine’s] spirit”.

He explained: “David Moyes told me I could choose to train or not, and that I had to do everything I could to ensure the safety of my family. I needed to remain professional so I returned.

“I was going crazy and you need to be distracted. But even now, I don’t know what the other results are. It is just training ends and then the phone calls home.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty