Three goals and an assist in the space of six games for Dynamo Kyiv earned winger Viktor Tsygankov a call-up to Andriy Shevchenko's Ukraine squad, with UEFA Champions League football helping the 18-year-old learn on the job.
Name: Viktor Tsygankov
Club: Dynamo Kyiv
Debut: 14 August 2016 v Stal
Born: 15 November 1997
Preferred foot: left
They say ...
"He is Dynamo's future. It's no coincidence he made his first start in a Champions League game and he really took his chance, providing an assist against Napoli. If he hones his natural talent the right way, he will have a great career."
Serhiy Rebrov, Dynamo Kyiv coach
"Tsygankov was ready for the first team last year. He's cut from the same cloth as Andriy Shevchenko. It's so rare to see such maturity in a player his age. Players like him love football more than anything – and that shows on the pitch."
Ihor Surkis, Dynamo Kyiv president
"Viktor thinks big. Just playing football is not enough for him – he has to win".
Vitaliy Tsygankov, Viktor's father and a former professional player
Born in Israel while his footballer father Vitaliy was with Hapoel Tayibe, Tsygankov Jr started out playing in Vinnytsia, a city 300km from Kyiv, moving to Dynamo in 2010 despite interest from Shakhtar Donetsk. Ascending the ranks, he represented Dynamo in the UEFA Youth League and began training with the seniors this term, starting against Napoli on matchday one and then scoring three minutes after coming off the bench in the 1-1 draw at Beşiktaş.
Playing style ...
The pacy, left-footed Tsygankov is a typical modern winger. He prefers to operate on the right, but since he is unlikely to oust Andriy Yarmolenko from that position, coach Rebrov is deploying him on the opposite flank. His dribbling and ability to create space are a boon for Dynamo.
Shades of ...
Tsygankov has said Lionel Messi and Mario Götze are the players he most looks up to, but he is a closer match to a young Gareth Bale or Theo Walcott.
Eureka moment ...
Tsygankov had an instant impact with two goals in four Premier-Liha games following his debut in August, a run of form which earned him a chance in the UEFA Champions League. His equaliser at Beşiktaş meant he became Dynamo's second youngest scorer in Europe, pushing Rebrov down to third place. Shevchenko still tops that list, and invited Tsygankov to link up with his Ukraine squad this month, though injury denied the youngster the opportunity of an international debut.
Best-case scenario ...
His coaches like him, he is scoring goals, and Tsygankov is already a Dynamo fans' favourite. His next natural step is to switch to the right wing – a transition that could come soon if captain Yarmolenko achieves his ambition of a big-money move abroad.
He says ...
"Scoring in the Champions League was a dream come true, but I want to keep on developing. My goals don't matter if the team don't win."
Tsygankov after the 1-1 draw at Beşiktaş
"Playing for the national team would have been a real achievement, unlike coming to the camp for a day and heading back to my club as I did. That was down to a hamstring injury, but the coach said he called me up for a reason. I'll try to repay Shevchenko's belief when I get back on pitch."
Tsygankov after his (brief) call-up to the national team
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