Poland captain Robert Lewandowski has pledged to wear an armband in Ukraine’s colors at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Ukraine legend Andriy Shevchenko gave Lewandowski the band at Poland’s Warsaw stadium.
“Thank you Andriy. It was a pleasure to meet you!” Lewandowski wrote on his Instagram account. “It will be an honor for me to carry this captain’s armband in the colors of Ukraine to the World Cup.”
Lewandowski, 34, said: “I believe that as athletes we should use the power of sport for good.”
“I’m going to take Andriy’s armband with me to the World Cup in November as a reminder that Ukrainian people are not alone and are not forgotten.”
“It means a lot to me to stand here with Andriy, a footballer and a man who has used his voice and platform to influence positive change.”
The Barcelona striker has been very vocal against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, even calling for Poland to boycott a World Cup qualifier against Russia.
Ukraine themselves will also not be at the World Cup, having lost to Wales in a Playoff match.
Poland will play in Group C with Argentina, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia at the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 tournament.
Shevchenko, who also managed the Ukraine national side between 2016 and 2021, said: “For me, the captain’s armband is a symbol of leadership, strength, and passion for your country.”
“I want to pass this armband to Robert to thank him for his support, voice, and platform in supporting my country and calling for peace.”
He added: “When I captained Ukraine, the armband meant everything to me – whether I was playing my club football in Italy or England, it always connected me to Ukraine.”
“Since the war began, I have once again been able to represent my country and I have seen athletes all over the world use their platform to support the victims of the invasion of Ukraine.”
“I want to thank Robert Lewandowski for this act of solidarity and for all of his work on behalf of my country – and I also thank the entire sporting world for their response to this crisis.”
“What I have seen is proof that sport has the power to change the world.”
“There is a special relationship between Ukraine and Poland. I have visited refugee projects here through my work with Laureus Sport for Good and Robert Lewandowski’s compassion can be seen right across the country.”