Shevchenko the comeback king

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The two burly men clad in Ukraine shirts screamed and hugged and roared with approval. "Da! Da! Shevaaaaaa!"

We were the best part of a 1000 kilometres separated from the co-hosts' Kviv comeback, but in our Baltic Coast bar it was a glorious taste of the power of international football.

In more ways than one. Andriy Shevchenko, a 35-year-old striker bombed out of Chelsea four seasons previously, gone an entire Serie A campaign without scoring, and struggled through three in the Ukrainian League, had just delivered a truly remarkable performance.

Barely involved in Ukraine's frantic build-up play, Prozone statistics said Shevchenko had possession of the football for just 15 seconds of his 82 minutes on the pitch. Yet two of his touches found the net. There was no fortune to this - both immaculately applied headers, at the end of perfectly executed striker's runs.

"I feel great, I feel 20 years old, not 35," said Shevchenko after the 2-1 defeat of Sweden. "It's such an important competition. Thank you to everybody who supported me. It was a very long walk because I had a lot of problems before the European Championship."

For before, read the last seven years. Shevchenko's £30.8million transfer to Chelsea (fee intentionally ramped up by Roman Abramovich so he could also claim possession of Britain's record transfer fee) was a truly awful transaction.

The Russian had long been trying to bring his pal to Stamford Bridge. Aware Shevchenko was a physically diminished force AC Milan happily banked the billionaire's cash. At Chelsea, the striker wasn't simply a waste of money, he was a destructive force.

His arrival obliged Jose Mourinho to fundamentally alter the tactical shape of a team that had won back-to-back Premier League titles to accommodate the owner's new toy. Shevchenko struggled with the pace of English football, cried off training with injuries, and spent long hours on the Wentworth golf course where he and his model wife had made their new home.

When Mourinho began leaving him out of the team, Shevchenko complained to the owner about the coach's methods. Soon the striker became the epicentre of a confrontation that resulted in Chelsea sacking the most successful manager the club had ever employed. Eventually even Abramovich realised he'd purchased a pup and moved him quietly on.

That's the context to Shevchenko's Kyiv conquest. It underlines what international contest can inspire a tired man to. Da! Da! Shevaaaaaa!