Main thing is to preserve health

Saturday, March 28, 2020



Shakhtar vice-captain Taras Stepanenko answered questions live on the club’s Instagram page

Among other topics, the Shakhtar midfielder talked about his recovery after the operation, shared his opinion about the current situation and the chances to play the rest of this season’s fixtures.
- I’ve been recovering after an injury, every day I work in the gym at the base in Sviatoshyno. I train twice a day. I think I’ll be ready to join the team when the quarantine is over. My route is from home to base and back. Everything goes gradually, in line with the protocol. I’m pumping up my muscles, running at a slow pace, do some exercises. The work is in full swing for those injured.

- In your life, this quarantine has not actually changed anything as you still go and train.
- We can even say that I used to visit my home more often. I'm leaving early in the morning now, and returning in the evening, about the dinner time. My wife has to take care of the kids on her own in quarantine. It's hard for her. We don’t go for walks or to the playgrounds. Over the week, my wife went to the forest with the children once or twice, just for them to enjoy some fresh air.

- The Championship issue is currently being actively discussed. What’s the best thing to do, according to you? To leave it as is or to play the remaining games in the summer?
- Everything will depend on how we cope with this illness. They have extended the quarantine period for a month. If they extend it for longer, we’ll physically have no time to complete this season due to the next season kicking off. So the football officials and executives will gather and decide on the right way to do it. I read that someone says that we need to use the first stage results, someone else says that this is unfair because they played another round ... As for me, the most important thing is that people stop getting sick and that such mass events like football matches are held in our country again. In the meantime, it’s better to take care and preserve people's health.

- Who’s the best player you’ve encountered on the pitch?
- Probably, that’s Ronaldo and Lampard.

- What’s your most beautiful goal?
- An overhead kick against Zorya.

- What coach would you like to work with?
- With Klopp, Zidane, and Guardiola. Who’s number one now? For me that’s Klopp. I liked his football style at Borussia, and I equally like it at Liverpool. Currently, he has some of the top players in the squad, but he has made them like that. That is, he did not come to get a ready-made team who are able to win everything and everywhere. He has made this squad and maintains the level every year. By the way, I also read a book about him, - I like Klopp as a person and coach.

- Who of the young players will turn into Shakhtar stars?
- Of those who are currently in the first team, Bondarenko, Bondar, Trubin, Sikan - all deserve that. If they work, they will succeed. But no one will tell you that if you are in the first team of Shakhtar at the age of 18 or 19, you will become a super footballer for sure. You need to work hard. When they give you a chance, you’ll have to use it and always keep this level. Lucescu always said that everyone can climb to those heights, but not everyone can stay there.
- Until what age are you planning to play football?
- I, as for example Toni Kroos said, am not one of those who want to play until the age of 40. I’ve got an injury now, God grant, I will heal it and everything will be fine. I plan to play as long as my health allows and for as long as I see that I’m ready to compete for a place at Shakhtar, the national team, and keep high performance standards. If I notice that I just occupy a place, I will quit. Every year, I need to take more care of myself. We are not getting younger, and a lot depends on that for a football player.

- What are ther top 5 books from Taras Stepanenko ...
- The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson. Sapiens - Ancelotti's book. Open by Andre Agassi - I usually don’t read that fast, but I read this one in two days, I really liked it. And the fifth one is Moonwalking with Einstein, it was advised by Bill Gates some time ago. It is easily written and very useful – it’s about the ways for a person to train their memory. I was really impressed - it turns out that they hold even world tournaments for memory. And if you use this technique, it really works! I tried it myself.

- What foreign languages do you learn?
- In addition to English, I began to learn Portuguese. I hear it all the time, I know a lot of words and almost everything regarding football, what the coach or the guys say, I understand it. When I began to study more with the tutor, I realized that this language is even easier for me than English, because forming questions and sentences is almost like in Russian – it is done more with the help of intonation than by using auxiliary words. So I combine those things, I study English with the help of Portuguese and vice versa.