FC Shakhtar Donetsk have strengthened ahead of their 2010/11 UEFA Champions League campaign with the signing of Ukrainian Under-21 internationals Serhiy Kryvtsov and Taras Stepanenko from FC Metalurh Zaporizhya.
Defender Kryvtsov, 19, and 20-year-old midfielder Stepanenko have both signed contracts running until 2015 with Mircea Lucescu's side, who regained the Ukrainian title from FC Dynamo Kyiv this season, taking them straight into the UEFA Champions League group stage. The versatile pair will also have an important domestic role as from next term Ukrainian Premier League sides are limited to six foreign players on the pitch at any one time.
Ukraine U21 captain Stepanenko, a veteran of 80 appearances for Metalurh, said: "My agent had talks with Shakhtar two years ago, but the Metalurh president decided that I was too young to move to Donetsk and it seems that he was right.
Metalurh gave me a lot, but I want to keep growing, to play in Europe. I know that the competition is high in Shakhtar, but I know how to play football myself."
Kryvtsov, part of the Ukraine side that won the 2009 UEFA European U19 Championship on home soil and already with 42 Ukrainian Premier League appearances to his name, added: "
Shakhtar are a team to dream about and now my dreams have come true. I'm ready to fill any position, but Mircea Lucescu sees me as a central defender."
Before their Shakhtar bow, Ukraine resume their UEFA European U21 Championship qualifying campaign in Malta on 29 May. A win would take unbeaten Ukraine three points clear of France and Belgium at the Group 8 summit.
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