Ruslan Rotan: "The dream of a whole generation of players and fans is being killed before our eyes"

2024-06-24 13:53 Ruslan Rotan, the head coach of the Ukrainian Olympic team, talked about the victory in the ... Ruslan Rotan: "The dream of a whole generation of players and fans is being killed before our eyes"
24.06.2024, 13:53

Ruslan Rotan, the head coach of the Ukrainian Olympic team, talked about the victory in the prestigious international tournament held in France, as well as about the finish line of preparation for the historic for Ukrainian soccer Olympics.

Ruslan Rotan. Photo: Getty Images

- Ruslan Petrovich, apart from the result at the Tournoi Maurice Revello, how satisfied are you with the training camp in France?

- I think we did a very good job. We haven't seen some of our main players for almost a year - and this is not quite a normal situation for the national team, which is preparing for such a forum as the Olympics. However, the guys quickly remembered all our requirements. I was pleasantly surprised by the new performers, who grasped these very requirements almost from the first training session. I liked the motivation of the players, their attitude to work. In all matches on the field we had a real team, and as proof, I will note one detail - in the national team of Ukraine at this tournament 10 players scored goals at once.

- Did the level of opponents at the tournament suit you? After all, some national teams were staffed with players who are younger than ours...

- Let's start with the fact that we do not have such a rich choice. Wherever we are invited, that's where we go. However, this tournament has a strong history - it has been held since 1970. In different years, the youth teams of France, Argentina, England, Brazil, Portugal and Italy have triumphed there. It was at this soccer festival that such players as Jean-Pierre Papin, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Cristiano Ronaldo and others began their bright international path. At one time played in the French tournament and famous Ukrainian footballers - Oleksiy Mykhailichenko, Andriy Bal, Serhiy Baltacha, Volodymyr Lyutiy.

In short, the tournament is very prestigious, and it somehow saves our preparation for the Olympics. If we didn't have these five matches, it would be very hard! During the year of its existence, the Ukrainian Olympic team has played only six friendlies. During the same time the national team of Morocco (U-23) has played nine matches, the national team of Argentina (U-23) has played 11 matches only this year, and the national team of Iraq - 12. I single out these national teams because they are our rivals in the group...

- Who can be singled out from the players of our team that played in France?

- I emphasize that it is necessary to single out the whole team. On the field we had a good game structure, we constantly played from a position of strength, we became the best team of the tournament by many indicators.

- Do many of the participants of the Tournoi Maurice Revello have a chance to qualify for the Olympic Games?

- Right now there are quite difficult negotiations with clubs. There are answers about some players from foreign clubs - most of them are not released for the Olympics. We have written letters to the Ukrainian clubs, but we still have not received official answers. I regularly communicate with coaches, directors.... Unfortunately, I can say that I don`t see much desire of the majority of club representatives to help the Olympic team. The clubs have an official reason - the Olympics are not on FIFA dates. But let's not forget the times in which we live and play. Let's remember that state interests must also be taken into account.

- It is understandable that the situation with Dynamo, which will play Champions League qualification matches on the dates of the Olympics, is not easy?

- We have always respected the interests of clubs and met them. The last tournament is a fresh example. We had an agreement with Dynamo head coach Oleksandr Shovkovskiy that we would release his team players after the third match. We kept our word, despite some personnel losses. There were similar situations before, but now we have a slightly different story.

Now we must realize how important it is for Dynamo to get to the main round of the Champions League. We are very worried for the prestige of the capital club, for its financial interests, that's why, apparently, we won't be able to ask for core players to participate in the Olympics. But in any case, if we can't find a compromise even on Dynamo's reserve players and their newcomers, it will be very difficult for me and, probably, for the fans to understand. I suspect that Kyiv will definitely let two players go.

- How is it with Shakhtar in this regard? "The Pitmen start in the Champions League in September, and there is no Super Cup this year.

- Indeed, I don't see any good reason not to let players go to the Olympics from a club that starts in the European competitions in the fall. Especially when it comes to a club that does so much for the country off the soccer field and always emphasizes its patriotism.

- Will there be problems with Ruch, too? After all, the Lvivians did not let their players go to France....

- I think that now there will be no problems - "Ruh" does not play in European cups, and if they want, they can postpone the UPL match. Let me remind you that we won this right for those clubs that delegate two or more players to the Olympics.

- I am sorry, but while talking to you, I had the impression that in the worst case scenario for you we risk going to the historic Olympics, as they say, according to the Olympic principle - the main thing is not to win, but to participate.

- Don't get me wrong - we have enough good players, we believe in them, we believe in the work we do. But we are very worried that the dream of a whole generation of footballers is being killed before our eyes. And the fans. A year ago, we did not just go to the youth Euro, but got into the quartet of the best teams on the continent and won the right to play at the Olympics for the first time in the history of our country. Now we are just snatching each of them from the clubs to represent the country with dignity. Every day the coaches of the Olympic team receive calls and letters from players. They expect pleasant news, but we can't answer them yet - the clubs just don't give official confirmations. And already on July 2 we need to send an official application for participation in the first for Ukraine soccer tournament of the Olympic Games.

Serhiy DEMYANCHUK

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