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Stepanenko: I dream of winning a European competition with Shakhtar

Wednesday, May 31, 2017



Midfielder of the Donetsk side and Ukraine national team reflects on signing a new contract, the most memorable championship and his plans for the future

- Taras, congratulations on signing a new deal with Shakhtar. What do you feel at the moment?
- For me, Shakhtar is a native club, it's part of my family. I've been playing here for seven years, I feel secure and confident about my future. At Shakhtar I grew up as an individual, as a football player and as a personality. Therefore, in fact, there were no negotiations at all. I had another three years of contract, but the management, seeing my work, offered to formalize the new agreement for another five years. For which I want to say many thanks to everyone! In the team, I’ve always been happy with everything. Of course, I have my own ambitions and desires, but when they offered me a new deal, I perfectly understood it would be right to stay. Yes, I want to play in a stronger league, but I constantly say that I wouldn’t want to change the club, I’d like to change only the league. If in the course of my career there is no offer corresponding to the level of Shakhtar, I will happily stay at the Donetsk club and for the rest of my career I will try to benefit Shakhtar.

- Together with Shakhtar you have already claimed five championships. Which of them is the most memorable for you?
- Of course, I remember them all. Each victory gave me many unforgettable emotions. The first championship for me was important, because when playing in Zaporizhya, I could only dream of such triumphs. The Golden Double, which we’ve secured this season, is also very significant, and not only for me, but for the whole team. We claimed those wins far away from home, playing away all the time. Someone might think that this success was easy to achieve, but in reality that’s not so at all.

- Today you may make your landmark, two hundredth appearance for Shakhtar. That’s symbolic, isn’t it?
- May in general has turned out to be significant for me! My son was born on the day of anniversary of our wedding with Margarita, we won the league, the Ukrainian Cup. I may well make my 200th appearance for Shakhtar. I think that’s a good message for me, I'm on the right track! God grant, l will play for the same period at the top level. I have a goal - to join the club legends in terms of the number of appearances. There are some older guys in the team, who, by their example, motivate me to put my heart and soul into my favourite Shakhtar, to give my all on the field.

- What are your goals for the next five years?
- I dream of winning a European competition with Shakhtar. Last year, we stopped a step away from the Europa League final. This goal pursues me, and I often think about it.