Oleksandr Zinchenko's Story Is An Inspirational One, He's Defied The Odds
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Oleksandr Zinchenko's £32 million switch to Arsenal ends a remarkable, trophy-laden spell at Manchester City but continues an inspirational journey.
Born in Radomyshl, where other kids wouldn't pass to him at the local football academy as a youngster, he ended up spending six years at Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine's biggest club.
Zinchenko captained Shakhat's Under 19 side and things were progressing well. But because of war in the region, he and his family were forced to leave the country in 2014.
It meant Zinchenko was without a club for five months and following a contract dispute and a period where he was training in the streets of Moscow by himself, he ended up signing for Russian side FC Ufa and began his professional career there.
Zinchenko played 33 times for Ufa before City snapped him up for £1.7 million in 2016, just a day after Pep Guardiola was unveiled as manager.
Loaned out to PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands for a season, he looked destined to be a player City would sell for a bit of profit without him ever playing a competitive game.
However, with unrivalled mentality and work ethic, he ended up forcing his way into Guardiola's plans as a makeshift left-back.
17: Fled the war in Ukraine— Baldiola 🏆 (@TeacherOfBall) April 29, 2021
18: Finally allowed to play professionally after a contract dispute
19: Signed by Manchester City for £1.7M and loaned to PSV
21: Won the PL
22: Won the domestic treble
24: A crucial part of the 2020/21 City team
The life of Oleks Zinchenko pic.twitter.com/UFsbRonJHb
Even deciding to fight for his place when Wolves came in for him a couple of years back, Zinchenko went on to make 128 appearances and win ten trophies - including four Premier League titles.
And in his final season, he had to deal with the war going on in his country following the invasion from Vladimir Putin and Russia.
Zinchenko was extremely vocal about the conflict and went above and beyond to help people back home. He showed tremendous strength and put in a game-changing 45 minute cameo on the last day of the season as City came from 2-0 down against Aston Villa to retain the title at the Etihad.
Afterwards, he celebrated his club’s title win by draping the Premier League trophy in the Ukraine flag while bursting into tears in a poignant moment.
Oleksandr Zinchenko wraps the Ukrainian flag around the Premier League trophy 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/QghRyajeeS— SPORTbible (@sportbible) May 22, 2022
The 25-year-old became a real fan favourite at City and leaves with all the best wishes in his new chapter at Arsenal, where he is reunited with Mikel Arteta and former teammate Gabriel Jesus.
"Signing for Manchester City changed my life, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity they gave me," Zinchenko told the official Manchester City website.
"It’s a special club and this has been a special period. To have won 10 trophies is incredible and I am immensely proud of everything we have achieved together."
In an interview with The Telegraph,
Zinchenko was asked what it takes to make a footballer and he gave the perfect response when he replied, saying: "1% talent, 99% hard work."