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Shevchenko hangs boots for politics

KIEV, Ukraine, July 28 – Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko on Saturday said he was joining a pro-business political party after announcing that he was quitting football for politics.

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.

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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.

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