The talismanic striker, who turned out for his final appearance for Ukraine when it hosted Euro 2012 last month, told his fans he was quitting all football after watching a match of Dynamo Kiev.
“Probably, I will shock all of you. My future will not be linked to football in any way… It will be linked to politics. I hope for your support,” he said in a statement on the Dynamo Kiev website.
Shevchenko added later Saturday he had decided to join a pro-business party called Ukraine Forward! whose leader, Nataliya Korolevska, has broken away from the opposition party of jailed ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
“I want to fulfil myself in politics and share the experience I gained in Europe, do something for my country,” Shevchenko said while visiting a children’s home with Korolevska, according to a statement released by the party.
“I decided to join the team of Nataliya Korolevska because Ukraine Forward! is a party of the future, it is a party of young leaders,” he said.
“In politics, I plan to support the social sector and sport. After all, my main slogan is a healthy mind in a healthy body,” he said.
Shevchenko first emerged in the 1990s at Dynamo Kiev. He collected the European footballer of the year award in 2004 during a seven-year spell with AC Milan.
After an often frustrating stint at Chelsea, he returned to Kiev for the last years of his career.
Ukraine Forward! is a new political force seen as a pro-business party which has no lawmaker in parliament but is hoping to win seats in October’s parliamentary elections.