Andriy Shevchenko said in the aftermath of Ukraine's exit from UEFA EURO 2012 that he will have one last hurrah before ending his international career.
Shevchenko was speaking after Ukraine's 1-0 defeat by England, a result which meant they missed out on a quarter-final place. They were unfortunate to lose to Roy Hodgson's Group D winners and it might have been a different story had Shevchenko not been restricted to a 20-minute second-half appearance off the bench due to a knee injury. Shevchenko, though, is adamant he will have one last chance to bid farewell.
"I'll play one last match – this will be my final match – probably some kind of friendly, I haven't decided yet. I will talk to some people and ask them to organise such a match. I would like to thank all the fans for the support they gave me in this game, during the whole of my career and during the European Championship."
A national treasure thanks to his 48 international goals – including two in the 2-1 defeat of Sweden in Kyiv in their opening Group D fixture – Shevchenko was full of gratitude for the support of his countrymen. "I tried to prepare for this tournament the best way I could as I realised that this would be my final tournament as an international, and also in front of the home crowd," said the FC Dynamo Kyiv striker, a UEFA Champions League winner with AC Milan in 2003.
"I think that is the best present that any football player can get, when they are happy to see you, when they are happy with the work you do. With all my heart, with all the energy I had, I tried my best. That's probably why the fans always welcome me and love me," he added.
"I think it's time to make room for new players. Ukraine has a great future, today's game showed that again. [Andriy] Yarmolenko, [Yevhen] Konoplyanka, [Denys] Garmash and [Yaroslac] Rakitskiy, these are young players and it's great that they got a lot of experience in these matches."
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