Shevchenko message for Ukraine, as first two players killed in war

Milan legend Andriy Shevchenko will reportedly read out a message before tonight’s Coppa Italia semi-final with Inter about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while two professional football players have died in the war.

The game is set to kick off at San Siro at 20.00 GMT.

Many Serie A clubs had anti-war messages before their matches at the weekend, with all kick-offs delayed by five minutes and a statement read out calling for peace.

Milan have a stronger link to Ukraine than many others in the form of Shevchenko, who had two different spells at the club.

According to Radio Rossonera, Shevchenko will appear on the giant screens this evening ahead of the derby with a video message urging everyone to help the people of Ukraine.

He and his family, who live in London, were at an anti-war march on Sunday in the English Capital.

Meanwhile, the wife of Atalanta midfielder and Ukraine international Ruslan Malinovskyi is selling Ukrainian flags, organising an auction of Atalanta team jerseys and bringing together supplies to send to the front line, amid fears Russian troops will begin siege tactics on Kyiv and Kharkiv.

FIFPro confirm that two professional football players have already been killed in the war, 21-year-old Vitalii Sapylo and 25-year-old Dmytro Martynenko.

According to reports, Sapylo was killed in combat near Kyiv, while Martynenko’s home was destroyed by a missile, also killing his mother and badly injuring his seven-year-old sister.

Martynenko played for FC Hostomel and was last season named best player in the second division, where he was also top scorer.

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