Four of Poland and Ukraine's greatest players – Zbigniew Boniek, Andrzej Szarmach, Oleh Blokhin and Andriy Shevchenko – will act as UEFA EURO 2012 tournament ambassadors.
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Four of the most celebrated footballers to come out of Poland and Ukraine will represent their countries as tournament ambassadors for UEFA EURO 2012.
Blokhin was the outstanding FC Dynamo Kyiv No11 elected European footballer of the year in 1975 after helping Dynamo land the UEFA Super Cup and the first of two UEFA Cup Winners' Cups. In 18 years with Dynamo, he also lifted seven Soviet Supreme League titles and netted more than 200 league goals. A veteran of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, he was capped 112 times by the USSR, scoring 42 goals. Blokhin, who guided Ukraine to the 2006 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, returned as national-team coach in April 2011.
Boniek has flown the flag for Poland as player and coach, most notably when the national team finished third at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. An attacker, he left RTS Widzew Łódź for Juventus after that tournament and proceeded to win the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 1984, followed by the European Champion Clubs' Cup and European/South American Cup the next year. Boniek hung up his boots at AS Roma in 1988, having scored 50 goals in 172 games in Poland, 30 in 158 in Italy, and 24 in 80 appearances for his country. He briefly coached Poland in 2002.
Shevchenko is back in Kyiv with Dynamo, where he originally claimed five Ukrainian titles, three cups and reached a UEFA Champions League semi-final. Shevchenko joined AC Milan in 1999 where his prolific exploits earned him the European footballer of the year prize in 2004. When he left for Chelsea FC in 2006, his haul of 173 goals had made him Milan's second-highest marksman; he had also converted the winning penalty in the 2003 UEFA Champions League final. Shevchenko returned to Dynamo in 2009 and became the second player to reach 100 caps for Ukraine the following year.
Szarmach spearheaded the Poland side that took third place at the 1974 FIFA World Cup, hitting five goals, before making a similar impact at the 1976 Montreal Olympics where his team were silver medallists. In total, the forward, who was born in 1950, registered 32 times in 61 outings for the full national side. Szarmach's goalscoring legacy at club level was no less impressive. He maintained his strike rate in France with 147 in 244 matches, including 94 in 148 games for AJ Auxerre.