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Dovbyk's triumph, Zinchenko's despair, Italian drama: what Ukrainian footballers are remembered for in Europe

Artem RossinskySport
Ukrainians play in three of the five top leagues in Europe

Yesterday, all seasons of the top European leagues ended. Eleven of our players gave fundamentally different and intense performances there. Among their achievements, they all appeared on the field and played a significant role in each of the clubs. OBOZ.UA tells about all the ups, downs, triumphs, and achievements.

Victories and trophies in Spain

The Catalan Ukrainians closed the season with a bang, showing who is the driving force behind Girona. After the first round and enchanting leadership, the team lost all its enthusiasm, let Real Madrid get close, and the eternal Spanish giants slipped ahead. In the last few months, the Girona team competed with Barcelona for silver. As a result, some Catalans took the first bronze medal in history, while others came in second and were left without a coach.

Dovbyk's triumph, Zinchenko's despair, Italian drama: what Ukrainian footballers are remembered for in Europe

And two Ukrainians showed character. In his first year in Spain, Dovbyk achieved several achievements: he was the tournament's top scorer (24 goals), one of the most-played players in the league, and the undisputed leader of the team. He is also among the best debutants in La Liga, with 24+8 in terms of assists, only Ronaldo was better in his first appearance for Real Madrid. Our striker is ahead of such players as Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski, Gareth Bale, and Radamel Falcao. Dovbyk also has goals for Barcelona and Atletico, several doubles, and two hat-tricks for Sevilla and Granada. In short, a memoir-like debut.

Dovbyk's triumph, Zinchenko's despair, Italian drama: what Ukrainian footballers are remembered for in Europe

Tsyhankov has been plagued by injuries three times, but his second year at Girona is better than the previous one. 8 goals and 7 assists are almost twice as many as in his first year. The quality translated into all the La Liga matches played when the midfielder was not in the infirmary. And how many times did the Tsyhankov-Dovbyk combination work with passes to each other! If Artem was a bright person, Viktor was a hard worker. And both closed the season on a major note with a performance against Granada.

Lunin had an incredible season – he had been waiting for his chance for 4 years! And all to firmly push Courtois in the social networks and opinions of Real Madrid fans, and his phenomenal performances deprived even Kepa of his job, who was urgently acquired to replace the Belgian. Andrii has played 21 matches, including a dozen zeroes. Our goalkeeper helped Madrid catch up with Girona, gain a foothold at the top of the table, and win the individual championship in La Liga. The team also won the Super Cup with Lunin. Yes, the regular Cup was lost, but there is an equally cool memory of the season in the Champions League. The bonus from the Spanish season is a place in the goal of the Ukrainian national team in the decisive matches of the Euro qualifiers.

There is still a very difficult personal question – to go or not? On the one hand, there is La Liga, which Real Madrid won largely with the participation of a Ukrainian. There is the Champions League final, which Madrid reached thanks to Lunin and his stunning performances (especially against Leipzig and Manchester City). However, Courtois has recovered and has already moved Andriy out of the goal, and Serlot has added doubts with his poker (although those goals raise more questions about the creamy center-backs). Lunin now has a lot to think about, because there are still a few days left until the CL final, but every day our hope of seeing the Ukrainian in goal is diminishing. Juve, Bayern Munich, and MU want to take the goalkeeper – now everything depends solely on the player himself.

Dovbyk's triumph, Zinchenko's despair, Italian drama: what Ukrainian footballers are remembered for in Europe

Yaremchuk also plays in Spain, also a La Liga debutant. It's incredible that Roman played as many as 25 matches for Valencia, but scored only three goals. There are several explanations for this: his rotation status, several injuries during the year, and more frequent substitutions. Roman did not appear on the field only twice this season, and the coach always found an opportunity to throw him into the battle. But the competition was lost – Duro was more stable and better. With the Ukrainian in the lineup, the team finished 9th, having long ago abandoned attempts to fight at least for the LC. We will remember Yaremchuk for his goal against Real Madrid. Whether Valencia will remember the striker is an open question, as there is too much time for adaptation. Will the bats leave the player in a very demanding position?

English thriller for 5 clubs

As many as five Ukrainians play in the English Premier League, and each has experienced his drama. Zinchenko was on his way to the championship with Arsenal, but the Gunners lost faith and allowed Manchester City to win the Premier League with their own hands; Oleksandr himself fell out of the lineup and had to prove to Arteta that he was worthy of starting again this summer. The grandees also have Mudryk – his first season in the world's best league was so unbalanced that among fans, Mykhailo jumped from player of the year status to the worst acquisition in history every time he took the field. Although it is worth noting that he scored 5 goals in three dozen matches, only 3 Chelsea players scored more than the Ukrainian.

Dovbyk's triumph, Zinchenko's despair, Italian drama: what Ukrainian footballers are remembered for in Europe

The competition was hotter in the basement. There, Zabarnyi, although he did not set a record for appearances in the Premier League among all clubs, won the Best Player award for Bournemouth. Mykolenko made us worry: his powerful performances for Everton barely helped the team stay in the Premier League. Similarly, Yarmoliuk in Brentford: this club decided to lose to everyone who is stronger than Luton and only the end of the season stopped the fall. It should be noted that they are the most ambitious in the Premier League.

Italian colorfulness

Empoli made a spectacular end to the round: being one step away from relegation, the team was able to beat Roma on their field and stay in the elite, taking only one point over Frosinone! Kovalenko was a substitute in the last match. In general, his performances are not impressive: in his 4th season in Serie A and his debut for Empoli, he started only 4 times, did not play a single match for a full game, and scored only once. At 28, if the midfielder wants to progress, he needs to change teams now. But we certainly won't forget that goal against Napoli: albeit the only one of the season, but what a goal!

Malynowskyi was more successful at Genoa: he played 28 games, most of them from the start. The griffins secured their entry into Serie A with the 11th place in the table, and the player converted 1,500 minutes on the field into 4 goals and an assist. There is every chance that the team has found a good player for the center and the Ukrainian will stay in Italy. Malynowskyi himself commented on this period as "doing everything to return to the national team." If there are more goals like the one against Bologna, Ruslan deserves to start. At least in a friendly with the Germans.

The French-German lull

But two championships do not know about Ukrainian football players. There was only the traitor Ordez, who almost got relegated from the Bundesliga with Bochum. Here we need to talk about the situation separately because the Germans have a relegation playoff – two matches for qualification. The opponent was the third team of the Second Bundesliga, Fortuna, which defeated the opponent 3-0 in the first match. It is said that this was due to the absence of Bochum's main goalkeeper. No one doubts that the Dusseldorf team will win the second one, and Fortuna's return to the German elite is much more pleasant than a non-Ukrainian playing in one of Europe's top leagues.

There are a few Ukrainians in France, all of them outside the elite. The closest to Ligue 1 is Danylo Ihnatenko, who plays for Bordeaux. His team seemed to be near the Ligue 2 qualification zone all the time to compete for the elite in the playoffs. However, an unfortunate series of wins and losses left them in 12th place. By the standards of the table, this is very far below the middle. But in terms of points, it's only 9 points behind Paris, which has jumped into the qualifiers. Ihnatenko himself remains the main player in his third season at the club: 30 matches, a goal and an assist. All the others play very far down the French divisions.

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