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When Jádson, the inspiration behind FC Shakhtar Donetsk's recent success, including their 2009 UEFA Cup win, departed at the start of the year, the club had a problem.
Who would replace the man that ran their midfield to such devastating effect? The answer was Armenian international Henrik Mkhitaryan, who had originally signed in August 2010 from FC Metalurh Donetsk, where he was captain aged 21. Initially he was a bit-part player, though he did shine in Armenia's impressive UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying campaign. In 2011/12 he also began to catch the eye for Shakhtar and after Jádson went back to Brazil, Mkhitaryan took over the playmaker slot as the Donetsk side completed the double.
This season the 23-year-old has taken a further step forward, with 12 goals in Shakhtar's nine league wins and both strikes in their 2-0 defeat of FC Nordsjælland in UEFA Champions League Group E. No wonder that Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu told UEFA.com: "He could become our number one player … he'll have a very beautiful career."
The feeling is mutual, Mkhitaryan saying: "In eight years Mircea Lucescu has built such a good team, I do not think another coach would be able to do that."
To watch the full feature on Mkhitaryan and Lucescu, click on the video above.
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