After Russia attacked neighbours Ukraine on Thursday, the sporting world came together with a variety of messages condemning the attacks. On Thursday night in the Europa League, Italian football team Atalanta’s Ukrainian midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi scored against Olympiakos and revealed a message 'No War in Ukraine' written under his shirt while celebrating the goal.
Atalanta eventually won the tie by a margin of 3-0 at the Karaiskakis Stadium. Malinovskyi was the star on the night for Atalanta as he scored a couple of goals to help his side progress to the next round.
That was not the only message of solidarity for Ukraine on show on Thursday night, with players of both Barcelona and Napoli making their statement before their game commenced at the Nou Camp. Players from both the clubs held up a banner saying "stop war" ahead of their Europa League play-off second leg tie. Barcelona went on to win the game 4-2.
Meanwhile, in another incident, Manchester City’s Ukrainian defender Oleksandr Zinchenko had posted against Russian President Vladimir Putin on Instagram, ‘I hope you die the most painful suffering death, creature.’ While the post was allegedly deleted, Instagram are investigating how the post got deleted without his knowledge, according British newspapers. Zinchenko also attended a protest in Manchester's St Peter's Square against the invasion.
In another Europa League game, Russian football team Zenit St Petersburg were playing Spain’s Real Betis and the contest was overshadowed by their decision to drop Ukrainian defender Yaroslav Rakitskiy for speaking out about the invasion.
On Friday, UEFA is expected to finalise on a decision to strip Russia of the Champions League final hosting rights for this season. The showpiece game was slated to be played on 28 May in St Petersburg. German football team Schalke 04, who are sponsored by Gazprom, have announced that they will remove the name from the club’s kit.
In Ukraine, where the top-flight football league has been postponed due to the Russian military attack, Brazilian players of Shakhtar Donetsk appealed for help.
As many as 13 Brazilian footballers, from Shakhtar Donetsk along with Dynamo Kyiv striker Vitinho, have sought refuge with their families in a hotel in the country's capital, Kyiv. There are 35 Brazilian footballers in Ukraine.
"Here we are all gathered, Dynamo and Shakhtar players, with our families, staying here at the hotel because of the situation," Shakhtar defender Marlon Santos said.
"We are here asking for your help, due to the lack of conditions in the city, closed borders, closed airspace. There's no way we can get out. We ask a lot of support from the government of Brazil, which can help us."
Elsewhere, in Cordoba, the Ukraine’s basketball team were in action against Spain in a 2023 World Cup qualifier and Artem Pustovyi played with the words ‘No War’ written on his face. The Ukrainian side were applauded by spectators and the Spanish team after their anthem was played before the game.
(With inputs from ESPN and Daily Mail)