Guardiola plans to hold Ukraine-Russia chat with Zinchenko


The Manchester City coach wants to speak with Oleksandr Zinchenko on tensions between the two countries

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola revealed he plans to speak with Oleksandr Zinchenko on the current tensions between the Ukrainian defender’s homeland and Russia.

Guardiola suggested it is normal for the left-back to be “concerned” about the situation as political and military tensions linger.

“We will have [a meeting] for sure, but we haven’t had it because we have only had three or four days together and with the injury we are focused on that,” explained Guardiola at a press conference.

“I’m pretty sure we will,” Guardiola continued, in relation to holding talks on the situation in Zinchenko’s homeland.

“Every human being, when something happens in their country, we are concerned. Around the world these kinds of things happening in the 21st century is so depressing.

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“When a decision is made for geopolitical interest, it is difficult to accept it. At the end, neighbors countries, being together could be stronger, but unfortunately what has happened has happened.

“I will speak with Oleks, he will know the situation better than myself,” Guardiola finished.

As Guardiola mentioned, 48-cap international Zinchenko was recently out injured and also tested positive for Covid.

This meant he missed the whole of January for City, but the 25-year-old returned to action by coming off the bench in a 4-1 FA Cup fourth round victory against Fulham at the Etihad on Saturday.

Zinchenko has history in Russia, as he played at Ufa in the Russian Premier League before being bought by the Abu Dhabi-backed giants in 2016 for around $2.3 million.

In October last year, he received support from Russian MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov after being criticized for posing for a photo with the UFC great when they watched City draw 2-2 with Liverpool at Anfield.

“You play for the national team under our coat of arms and flag,” commented one disapproving compatriot on social media, as another advised Zinchenko he should avoid dealing with “representatives” of Russia “especially in public”.

Later, however, Nurmagomedov said that he wished Zinchenko “good luck in everything,” even if “someone doesn’t like it.”

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