Ukrainian soccer player gets teary-eyed after crowd cheers his introduction

Ukrainian soccer player Roman Yaremchuk
AP/Evgeny Kraws

Ukrainian soccer player Roman Yaremchuk got emotional when the crowd cheered his introduction during a soccer match. 

During a match against Vitoria on Saturday, Yaremchuk, who professionally plays for Primeira Liga club S.L. Benfica, checked into the contest as a substitute for teammate David Nunez, with Nunez giving him the captain’s armband as well. 

As Yaremchuk checked in, fans in attendance gave him a standing ovation. Yaremchuk, visibly emotional, applauded the fans and thanked them for their support. 

The crowd’s cheers came after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on Thursday, leading to a series of international sanctions against Moscow. U.S. companies in a variety of sectors have moved to end business with Russia.

FIFA on Monday imposed an indefinite ban on Russia’s national team from participating in all competitions, including the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

Russia’s national team was set to compete against Poland for a World Cup qualifying match in March, but Poland’s national team refused to play Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, which borders Poland. 

“It is the right decision! I can’t imagine playing a match with the Russian National Team in a situation when armed aggression in Ukraine continues,” Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, who plays professionally for German club Bayern Munich, wrote in a tweet. “Russian footballers and fans are not responsible for this, but we can’t pretend that nothing is happening.”

Many Ukrainian soccer players, including Yaremchuk, have shared anti-war messages since Russia invaded their native country. 

Ukrainian midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi, who plays professionally for Serie A club Atalanta, unveiled an undershirt with the simple message “No War In Ukraine” during his team’s 3-0 victory against Olympiako in the UEFA Europa League match on Thursday.

Tags FIFA FIFA invasion Portugal Roman Yaremchuk Russia Russia-Ukraine conflict soccer Ukraine
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