KIEV – Famed Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko has quit football to begin a career in politics with an independent party just months ahead of the October parliamentary election.
Shevchenko has joined “Ukraine – Forward!”, formed this year by politicians who were expelled by the main opposition coalition that used to be led by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the party said.
“Perhaps, I will shock everyone: my future has nothing to do with soccer,” Shevchenko was quoted as saying in a statement by his former club Dynamo Kiev. “…It is related to politics.”
His new party quoted him as saying: “I want to find myself in politics, share the experience I have acquired in Europe, do something for my country.”
He did not make clear whether he plans to run for office.
Shevchenko, 35, started his career in Dynamo and then moved to AC Milan, where he became one of Ukraine’s most famous players. His next stint with Chelsea was less successful and he started playing for Dynamo again in 2009.
Shevchenko also played for Ukraine in June’s Euro 2012, which the country co-hosted with Poland, but the team failed to progress from the group stage.
“Ukraine – Forward!”, led by parliament deputy Natalya Korolevska, used to be the Social-Democratic party and was long a member of Tymoshenko’s opposition faction BYuT.
Korolevska fell out with the BYuT’s new leaders and they expelled her party from the bloc, accusing it of secretly co-operating with the government, which it denies.
(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
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