Ilsinho: I wish Shakhtar to win and bring joy to fans

Having left the Donetsk club, the Pitmen’s ex-midfielder has granted an exclusive interview.

- Ilsinho, your career at Shakhtar has come to an end. What are you feeling right now? What things have and haven’t worked out at Shakhtar?
- I am very grateful to Shakhtar for all these years. There have been many good moments; the club will always be in my heart. There have been seven seasons, which have taught me a lot. We have won a lot of trophies. The victory in the UEFA Cup is especially memorable – the greatest achievement of Shakhtar till now. I have had a decent professional way; despite some injuries and operations. I think I have left a good impression. I want to thank the fans for the love that I have always felt from them. I will never forget this. 

- Which of the seasons will you remember the most?
- Without a doubt, the 2008-09 season, when we won the UEFA Cup. That team were the best. We had a very strong side.

- You have once admitted that your goal versus Dynamo in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup is the most important goal in your life. Since then, nothing has changed, hasn’t it? What does a player, who has entered the history of the club, feel?
- Everyone still remembers that goal against Dynamo! Yes, this is the most important goal for me. All of us have gone down in the club's history - not only me, but every player of the team.

- There was another goal against Barcelona, "golden goal" against Dynamo...
- Yes, those have also been very important moments, especially the goal against Barcelona. That was my best time at Shakhtar.

- Could you compare the current level of Shakhtar with that of 2007?
- Back then, Shakhtar were still being built. Later, the club reached the top, winning the UEFA Cup and then went on to win five consecutive Ukrainian league titles. Today's team also have a lot of qualities, but it is still being built. From the team that won the European trophy, only Pyatov, Kucher and Srna have remained. Now Shakhtar are the new team, they have the potential to win the same titles.

- Prior to joining Shakhtar, you played in defence. Was it difficult to change the position and what role was played by Mircea Lucescu in this regard? What have you learned directly from Mister?  
- Of course, it was not easy. But Mircea Lucescu is a very important person in my career, he has played a big role in my professional and personal development. My entire career depends on his work, and I am very grateful to him for everything he has done for me. I have told him about that in person and I look at him as at a father and a man who has made me a real footballer.

- What is your brightest match in Shakhtar’s shirt?
- In addition to the games, which already have been discussed, I would single out a "golden match" with Dynamo. I scored the winning goal, and Shakhtar won the first league title at Donbass Arena. It was the last game of my first period at Shakhtar...

- Did you care that the fans would not welcome your return in 2012?
- No, because I have left a good image. The club and I just did not reach an agreement, but I wanted to stay. I may have made a mistake.

- What memories will you have of Shakhtar and Donetsk? What will you be missing the most?
- There have been a lot of good moments. I have spent half of my career at Shakhtar, winning a major title. I have gone through a lot of things; I have developed and matured in every way. I have got acquainted with a different culture; I have made a lot of friends. I will follow the club and root for the Pitmen. I sincerely wish the team to win the titles and please the fans, who have always treated me with great love and respect.