What next for Shevchenko?

April 11, 2008

Shevchenko and DrogbaIf a footballing-loving Martian suddenly appeared, you’d be hard pressed to persuade him that Andriy Shevchenko was once the most feared striker on our planet.

He broke records galore in seven years at AC Milan, but his two seasons at Chelsea have been utterly miserable. Injury has played a part in his fall from grace, but generally the 31-year-old has been too slow for the demands of English football and has lost his magic touch.

Why then are AC Milan so obsessed with bringing him back to the San Siro? You could count on one hand the number of players that have gone back to their former clubs and succeeded. Ian Rush (Liverpool-Juventus-Liverpool) may be one along with Juan Roman Riquelme (Boca Juniors) and Mark Hughes (Manchester United) but there are few other instances (Johann Cruyff, Robbie Fowler and Teddy Sheringham were never as good on returns to Ajax, Liverpool and Spurs for example).

Club president Silvio Berlusconi, a personal friend of the Ukrainian, may think the striker can roll back the years if he returns to familiar, comfortable surroundings. But Serie A is not the league he left. The play has got quicker, conversely because the standard is lower.

Milan have a habit of buying players when they are past their best. Ronaldo was an injury waiting to happen when he signed from Real Madrid. Now the soon-to-be ex European champions are courting Barcelona’s Ronaldinho, simply because he may come on the market because he is not as good as he was.

Think also of Inter Milan, who brought in Luis Figo when he was in decline and Patrick Vieira after he’d had his best years at Arsenal. Contrast that with English football, which is so dominant now because they buy players at their prime or just before (Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Torres).

To be fair to Milan, they took a gamble signing 18-year-old Brazilian striker Alexadre Pato, and it has partially paid off. Carlo Ancelotti has said Pato and Shevchenko are too similar, but that hasn’t stopped Berlusconi.

Media reports say Sheva may be given a free transfer by Chelsea. I think he should resist the temptation to return to Milan. What do you think?

Mark Meadows, Milan

PHOTO: Shevchenko with Chelsea team mate Didier Drogba, whose form has often kept the Ukrainian out of the starting lineup.  March 2007 REUTERS/Eddie Keogh


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As A Milan fan Id be happt to see Sheva and R10 at the
club, we’ve been doubted before and still won trophies.

Posted by patcook | Report as abusive

There isn’t really anywhere else that Shevchenko can now move to apart from AC MIlan though is there?
The players mentioned above, i.e Hughes, Rush, Sheringham et al all returned to the clubs where they became legends and none of them left with that status being tarnished in any way, shape or form.
It is fair to say that when they returned to the club, they were far from their best and did not have the same impact as first time round, however I doubt any sensible fan would have really expected that to be the case.
It is hard for a supporter of any other club than Milan to understand the amount of love those fans have for Shevchenko. No matter what happened or how many goals he scored, it wouldn’t matter to those fans. Once a legend, always a legend.

Posted by John Ford | Report as abusive

talking of players to go back to their former clubs, I guess the jury is still out on whether Hernan Crespo has been as good at Inter as he was before he left

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

I cringe when I hear talk of Thierry Henry going back to Arsenal. As an iconic figure at the club, it’d be hard to come back and fit in with a group that has forged a new identity and style of play after his departure. If Sheva returns to Milan he’d have to understand that he would be returning not to HIS Milan, but the Milan that belongs to Kaka, Pirlo (and whoever the new manager will be).

Posted by Marcus O’Mard | Report as abusive

[…] The soggy, unfortunate future of Andre Shevchenko. (Reuter’s Soccer Blog) […]

Posted by Don’t Make It Seem Like I Made You Read These Links – The Run of Play | Report as abusive

I think he should come to the US and play in MLS. His wife is American. The league is growing by leaps and bounds. He could be a big part of that.

Posted by Doug Whitehead | Report as abusive

I agree with Doug Whitehead. Especially since the media pressure will be far less. He can focus more on his game and not defending attacks from all sides.

Posted by papa bear | Report as abusive

I agree that a move to the States could well be an intelligent choice for Sheva. Marcus makes a great point that it would no longer be Shevchenko’s Milan if he was to return to AC and although I personally feel that no matter how poorly he played the Milan fans would love him still, for the sake of nostalgia it would probably be wise for the Ukranian to stay away.
As we have seen from the transfer of Beckham to the US, the money is there and it could well be a perfect opportunity for Sheva to claim one last mega pay-day.

Posted by John Ford | Report as abusive

I am a die hard chelsea fan, and i was so excited when i heard that we had signed Sheva, looking at the
exceptional footballer he was in Italy. Unfortunately
his move has turned out to be not only a bad business
move for Abramovich, but the downfall of one of the most
feared fowards on the planet.I blame mourinho because it
was it was clear that he never wanted sheva,injury has
played its part for Sheva under Grant, but the last game
he started against Villa he scored a double and set up
the third.
A move back to Italy might be a good thing, in the sense
that in returning to familiar territory, he might be given the chance to end his career, in a blaze of glory.
Andriy Shevchenko- One of the greatest footballers of all time.

Posted by Jid | Report as abusive

There is only one person to blame for schevas fall from grace…..and that would be his wife, she basically forced this guy to go to england on the basis of their child learning to speak English….that has now backfired….and if he returns to Milan…he will sit out on the bench…with ronaldinho now also going there you have to start thinking about a clash of player egos. Its over for scheva…he is old…he is no maldini…he should seriously consider playing in the UAE of MLS just for the money…at 31 he isn’t going to perform….i know many players can perform at 31 but scheva isn’t one of them

Posted by Johnny | Report as abusive

Jid, I’m a Chelsea fan too and it is sad to see that since arriving at The Bridge his career has taken an obvious downwards spiral but I have to disagree with you as to who is to blame.
As you say, Jose never wanted Sheva to come to the club, he made that obvious through his statements in the press and it was down to Abramovich to make the funds available and allow Peter Kenyon to travel to Milan for talks. If he hadn’t have given the nod, Shevchenko would have still been at Milan and Roman would have been £31 million better off.
What makes it worse is that a scenario such as this just fuels those who wish to claim that we ‘destroy’ players careers such as Duff, Parker, Kezman and Shevchenko.
Jose knew Andriy wouldn’t fit into his plans and yet Abramovich went out and bought him anyway, it’s our Chairman whose to blame here.

Posted by John Ford | Report as abusive

Shevvy should return same as Henry if he came back to Arsenal it would make us champions again and at last we can win the big Euro cup yes we have done well since he left but******** he is the man the star the man who make the difference when we need that something special same for Shevchenko at milan some players are made for certain clubs and these 2 should never have left ask any gooner who has watche henry play and they will in 1 voice say BRING HIM BACK!!!

Posted by Trev | Report as abusive


Posted by Red Devil | Report as abusive

Ha ha! Short but sweet Red Devil, nice!
I have to echo the sentiments of Trev on this one. Like I have previously posted, like Henry, Shevchenko could do no wrong if he returned to Milan, his symbolic of that football club, much in the same way that Henry is to the modern Arsenal team, as Fowler is to Liverpool and how Zola is to Chelsea.
I do however have one question for Trev. If – and don’t get your hopes up I haven’t heard anything! – Henry was to don the Arsenal red once more only this time he had a similar torrid time as Shevchenko has endured at Chelsea, would this not taint the memories you have of his first spell at the club?

Posted by John Ford | Report as abusive

What’s next for Scheva? nothing… He’s enjoying his retirement, warming the bench for obscene amounts of money and then going out to play for short periods of time, scoring the occasional goal to shut people up. He has my dream job! haha

Posted by Five Times | Report as abusive

That was harsh, Red Devil, but it did make me smile…

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

While I have been a critic of Shevchenko’s I do think that the (unpleasant) hustle and bustle of the English league has exaggerated his demise. For me, the jury is still out on idea that the Premiership is The Best League in the World: the game there is sometimes (unpleasantly) fast, too physical and too liberally refereed. Serie A is a more sophisticated league and if it had the money again, would usurp the Premierhsip for best league status. Having said all that, I believe that Sheva can thrive in a setting more conducive to his style of play. I would not pay much for him but I would take a chance on him. He would be only one of many purchaes that Milan will need to make this summer – so why not take a gamble on a former great?

Posted by Best Player | Report as abusive

I agree that Jose Mourinho killed Shevchenko not letting him play and critisizing him even when he played well.
Another reason is that there has not been a good climate
inside the team, at least for the last 2 years. It is very noticeable. Competition is a good think and has to be in every team, but for some reason it is not healthy in Chelsy.
From another hand if Shevchenko wanted to save himself as a soccer player he would have done something about this, but instead he is waiting for something to happen. So looks like the money is more important for him then his career.

Posted by vbsoccer | Report as abusive