Andriy Mykolayovych Shevchenko (Ukrainian: Андрій Миколайович Шевченко, Andrij Mykolajovyč Ševčenko, born 29 September 1976, Dvirkivschyna, Kiev Oblast) is a Ukrainian football striker who plays for Chelsea F.C. in the FA Premier League. He is a winner of the prestigious Golden Ball, and was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in 2004. He is also the second-highest goal scorer of all-time in European club competitions with 57 goals, behind only Gerd Müller.
Andriy was nine when the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred in April 1986. His village, not far from Chernobyl, was also affected by the disaster, and his family was one amongst the thousands who had to abandon their homes and relocate to the coast to escape the aftereffects. At an early age, he was a competitive boxer in the LLWI Ukrainian junior league, but due to his size, he was forced to move on to football, where he flourished.
Later that year, Andriy failed a dribbling test for entrance to a specialist sports school in Kyiv. However, he happened to catch the eye of a Dynamo Kyiv scout while playing in a youth tournament, and was thus brought to the club. He was extremely successful in the youth system at the club, honing his skills on the junior teams. In 1990, Andriy, playing for the Dynamo Kyiv under-14 team in the Ian Rush Cup in Wales, was top scorer in the tournament, and was awarded a pair of Rush's boots as a prize by the Liverpool F.C. player himself.
In 1993-94, he was the top scorer for Dynamo-2 with twelve goals, and he made an appearance in the first team list, taking Dynamo to their second successive league victory. He scored his first international goal in May 1996, in a friendly against Turkey, at Samsun. Shevchenko won the league again next season with Dynamo, scoring 6 goals in 20 games. The next two seasons, 1997-98 and 1998-99, were abundantly productive for Shevchenko. The highlight of his 1997-98 season was his first-half hat-trick against FC Barcelona in the 1997-98 Champions League, helping Dynamo produce a shock 4-0 road win. His 19 goals in 23 league matches, 6 goals in 10 Champions League matches, and another league victory with Dynamo in 1997-98 were followed by 28 goals in all competitions in 1998-99, and the league top-scorer award for his 18 goals there. Shevchenko's exploits in the Champions League took Dynamo to the semi-final stage of the tournament, before they lost to Bayern Munich 3-4 on aggregate.
Shevchenko won the domestic league title with Dynamo in each of his five seasons with the club. Under the guidance of Valeri Lobanovsky, the Dynamo manager from January 1997 to May 2002 (his third spell in the post), Shevchenko flourished into one of the team's most prominent and skillful players.
In 1999, Shevchenko joined the then five-time European Cup champions A.C. Milan for £26 million, and instantly became one of their top players. He made his Serie A debut on 28 August 1999 in a 2-2 away draw with U.S. Lecce. His impressive haul of 24 league goals in 32 matches earned him the Serie A scoring title, becoming the first non-Italian player to accomplish the feat in his debut season. Over the next two seasons, Shevchenko scored 34 goals in 51 matches then 17 goals in 38 matches in all competitions, but Milan could not win any silverware in either season.
The disappointment of those two seasons was overcome in 2002-03 when Milan won the Coppa Italia, as well as the Champions League, making Shevchenko the first Ukrainian-born player ever to win a Champions League title. Though Shevchenko was not in top offensive form, netting only five times in 24 matches, he scored the winning penalty kick in the shoot out against arch-rivals Juventus in the final, giving the Rossoneri their sixth title. 2003-04 was another successful season for both Milan and Shevchenko. He was the Serie A scoring champion for the second time in his career, duplicating his previous effort of 24 goals in 32 matches en route to Milan winning the Scudetto after a four-year drought. He also scored the winning goal in the UEFA Super Cup victory over F.C. Porto, leading to Milan's second trophy of the season. In August 2004, he scored three goals against S.S. Lazio as Milan won the Italian Super Cup. He capped off the year in dramatic fashion by being named the 2004 European Player of the Year.
In 2004–05, Milan finished runner-up to Juventus in the Serie A standings, helped in part by the seventeen goals of Shevchenko, but Milan's domestic success was promptly deflated in the wake of the 2005 Champions League final, in which they lost a 3-0 lead to Liverpool F.C. during a six-minute span in the second half. The match ended 3–3 after extra time. Shevchenko's decisive penalty was blocked by Liverpool goalie Jerzy Dudek in the shoot-out, which gave the English side the title.
Shevchenko scored 19 goals in the 22 games that he played in the 2005-06 Serie A campaign to go with nine goals in 12 total matches in the Champions League, making history along the way. On 23 November 2005, Shevchenko scored all four goals in Milan's 4-0 drubbing of Fenerbahçe SK, becoming only the fifth player to do so in a CL match (his company includes Marco van Basten, Simone Inzaghi, Dado Pršo and Ruud van Nistelrooy). However, he scored only once in the last four matches of the quarter-final and semi-final stages as Milan eliminated Olympique Lyonnais thanks to a last-minute comeback, but were then held scoreless in both semi-final legs en route to falling to Barcelona. He ended the season as the CL's fourth-highest scorer with a total of 43 career goals, in addition to ten qualifying-round scores.
On 8 February 2006, he became Milan's second all-time goalscorer, behind legend Gunnar Nordahl, after netting against Treviso.
During the summer of 2004, there were persistent reports that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich offered a record sum of £50 million and striker Hernán Crespo to A.C. Milan in exchange for Shevchenko. Milan refused the monetary offer but took Crespo on loan. Abramovich upped his offer to £85 million to AC Milan, in addition to a record weekly wage of £225,000, to transfer him to Chelsea, but he was again refused. Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon was quoted as saying, "I think Shevchenko is the type of player we would like. At the end of the day to improve what we have got, it has to be a great player and Shevchenko certainly comes into that class."
Meanwhile, Shevchenko repeatedly denied that he wanted to leave, claiming that he wanted to become a Milan legend like Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini. But on 11 May 2006, Shevchenko publicly announced that he would be leaving the club after all, which came as a surprise to Milan fans.
On May 14, 2006, during the last Serie A encounter between Milan and Roma, Shevchenko watched the first half in the stands with Milan supporters, many of whom cried and begged him to stay, but it was to no avail. Two weeks later, he signed for the London giant. The fee has not been officially disclosed, but most media outlets put it between £30 million ($58 million US, €45m) and £56 million, which would make it the most expensive transfer in English football and one of the top six in the world. Shevchenko joined up with his new team after the 2006 World Cup. He received the number seven shirt, as Chelsea coach José Mourinho said that Shevchenko could continue wearing it.
On August 13, 2006, Shevchenko scored his first goal for Chelsea in the Community Shield match against Liverpool, but Chelsea lost 2-1. On August 23, he scored his first FA Premier League goal — and his 300th career in top-flight and international football — in a 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough F.C. He then suffered a scoring drought that lasted through six Premiership matches until he finally netted his second goal of the season in a 2-1 win over Portsmouth on October 21. He also scored in a 4-0 Carling Cup victory over Aston Villa and in the same week scored in the Premiership again in another 4-0 thrashing of Watford, with his strike partner Didier Drogba collecting his second hat-trick of the season, the other being in the Champions League.
Shevchenko scored his first Champions League goal for Chelsea in a group phase game against Levski Sofia on 6 December 2006. This goal brought his tally of goals scored in the UEFA Champions League to 57, making him the second highest goalscorer of all time in European club competitions.
However, after a poor start to his first season at Chelsea, many people questioned whether he was worth such a hefty transfer fee. In January 2007 ex-Chelsea star Tony Cascarino suggested that he might end up being the biggest flop in British football. 
Shevchenko has 71 caps and 33 goals for the Ukraine national team, whom he represented at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
In March 2000, Dynamo manager Valeri Lobanovsky became the Ukraine coach, with the aim to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals. Shevchenko scored 10 goals in the qualifiers, but Ukraine failed to qualify after losing a play-off against Germany.
In October 2005, Ukraine finally managed to qualify for the WC finals when they topped their 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification group with seven wins, four draws and only one loss. Shevchenko was instrumental in this inspired performance by the team, scoring six goals out of the total eighteen by Ukraine. He scored twice as Ukraine went on a surprising run in the finals, which included a lopsided 4-0 win over Saudi Arabia and the defeat of Switzerland (in which Shevchenko's penalty was saved) in a penalty shoot-out, until they were eventually eliminated in the quarter-finals by the champions Italy.
During a fashion show afterparty, the Ukrainian footballer met his future wife, model Kristen Pazik, whom he married in July 2004 in a private ceremony on a golf course in Washington, DC. Though Pazik is American, they communicate with each other in Italian, though Shevchenko had previously made public his desire to learn English, which was one reason he cited for his desire to move to Chelsea. The couple has two sons, the oldest being Jordan (named after NBA legend Michael Jordan), born on 29 November 2004, an event which Andriy commemorated by scoring against Sampdoria the following day (AC Milan won 2–1).
His second son, Christian, was born on 10 November 2006. The next day, after scoring in a 4-0 Chelsea defeat of Watford, he and several of his teammates gathered and performed the popular "rock-the-baby" goal celebration as a tribute.
Originally in the Cyrillic alphabet, Shevchenko's name doesn't have one correct way of being transliterated to the Latin alphabet. His first name is spelled Andrii by World Soccer magazine, and Andrei by Sky Sports, although iy is usually the preferred suffix to Ukrainian names in most English publications. The correct pronunciation is [аn̪d̪.'rij].
Awards and honours
Notes and references
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