UKRAINIAN FOOTBALL

BBC: Mircea Lucescu: The manager who joined the club that hates him most

Romanian manager Lucescu sparked controversy when he took over at Dynamo Kyiv in July despite having led arch-rivals Shakhtar Donetsk for over a decade

Michael Yokhin
Sunday, 08 November 2020 00:50

Imagine Sir Alex Ferguson taking over at Liverpool. Sounds impossible? That is roughly the scenario that unfolded in Ukraine this summer, when Dynamo Kyiv decided to gamble on Mircea Lucescu, the ultimate symbol of their fiercest rivals, Shakhtar Donetsk.

Both sets of fans could hardly believe their eyes when the official appointment was made on 23 July. It is difficult to say which was was the more furious.

For the Shakhtar faithful, Lucescu's move felt like a betrayal, but the Kyiv ultras refused to accept the new coach too.

Their statement couldn't have been more blunt: "We wanted to believe this was a silly hoax, but it turns out the club management has lost all remaining common sense, honour and self-respect. They spit into the faces of Dynamo fans and must fully understand the consequences."

Why is Lucescu seen as such an enemy? Because that is exactly how he positioned himself, in more ways than one, during a 12-year spell at Shakhtar that ended in 2016. His mission had been to knock Dynamo off their perch, and it was accomplished in emphatic fashion.

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