Very marked by the war in Ukraine from which he had to flee, Mateus Tetê is “ready to fly in the field”

From our special correspondent in London,

Since his third touched ball, two minutes after coming into play, Mateus Tete showed on Sunday against Angers (3-2) a glimpse of the “magical left foot” praised by Claudio Caçapa. Peter Bosz’s assistant, who had already been able to train his young compatriot in the Brazilian under-15 team, is well placed to know how much this spring reinforcement fell from the sky for a OL far from the mark in Ligue 1 (9th). Qualified for the first leg of the quarterfinals of call europeThis Thursday (9:00 p.m.) at West Ham, the 22-year-old winger intends to re-explode Lyon’s attack at the end of the match.

We would almost forget that we are dealing with a player whose last match dates from December 11 (at Oleksandria) because matchday 18 of the Ukrainian championship, scheduled for February 26, will never be played. A player who had not undergone any collective training for five weeks, before arriving in Lyon on March 31, alongside his agent and former Le Mans striker Tulio de Melo, who was involved in his arrival. And above all a young man who had to leave the Shakhtar Donetsk (based in kyiv due to the 2014 Donbass war), where it had been evolving since 2019, due to the invasion of Ukraine.

In total, 26 Brazilians (players and family members) left kyiv to join their country.

“It’s a complicated situation, but from the moment I arrived in Lyon, my head was 100% focused on football,” he said in an interview with OL Play. That’s what I like to do more than anything. His compatriots from Shakhtar, as well as those from Dynamo, gathered at the Opera Hotel in kyiv, posted a video on social networks on February 24 to ask for help to the Brazilian authorities, to return to his country. The International Federation of Professional Football Players Associations (FIFPRO), informs 20 minutes helping a total of 26 Brazilians (the players and their families) get there in a few days, taking a train to Lviv, then another to go to Romania, before flying to Sao Paulo.

Arriving at the Sao Paulo airport on March 1, the Brazilian Shakhtar Dodo player, a Tetê teammate who also had to flee the war in Ukraine, is delighted to find his relatives.
Arriving at the Sao Paulo airport on March 1, the Brazilian Shakhtar Dodo player, a Tetê teammate who also had to flee the war in Ukraine, is delighted to find his relatives. – Andre Penner/AP/SIPA

Meanwhile, Mateus Tetê, who had no intention of returning to Brazil, had already sneaked out of kyiv on his own. “From the first day of the conflict, with his agent Pablo Bueno and his relatives who lived in Kyiv, they were very reactive, telling each other that they couldn’t escape by plane, explains Isabelle Dias, translator and mayor of the OL for more than 20 years. So they went to refuel and left in cars for the Polish border. “According to Franck Henouda, a French agent based in Porto Alegre at the origin of this special connection between Shakhtar and Brazil, “it took 22 hours to travel 5 km because the roads were blocked to leave the country.”

Tetê’s wife is Ukrainian.

Close to all the Brazilian players who have passed through OL for twenty years, isabel days He acknowledges having “tested” the issue with Mateus Tetê, since he feels that he is “very affected” by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Because more than most Brazilian players arriving at Shakhtar for more than 20 years, the promising left-hander has forged “strong ties” during his first experience outside of South America. Starting with the meeting with his wife, who is Ukrainian.

“I had to bring about thirty Brazilians in 20 years to Shakhtar, and this is the first time that one of them has married a Ukrainian,” says Franck Henouda. It sure is not a destination that you will forget like this. His in-laws live there, now it is his second home. So much so that during their five weeks of physically speaking, while residing in a hotel in Warsaw with his relatives, Mateus Tetê had his mind set on Ukraine.

Mateus Tetê, here during a Champions League match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Sheriff Tiraspol, in December in kyiv
Mateus Tetê, here during a Champions League match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Sheriff Tiraspol, in December in kyiv – Efrem Lukatsky/AP/SIPA

“An absolute model of professionalism”

“He is very altruistic, so he helped the refugees a lot by preparing many food baskets for them when he was in Poland,” says Isabelle Dias. She now wants to bring to Lyon the governess she had in kyiv, as well as several other Ukrainian people. Franck Henouda, who lives down the street from Tetê’s family in Porto Alegre, is full of praise for the Lyon rookie.

Few Brazilians are absolute models of professionalism like him. His personality and his upbringing make me think of Fernandinho, Fred and Alex Teixeira. He is used to always doing an extra workout after his session with his club. »

“Announces that he wants to mark the history of OL”

With a contract until June 2023 with Shakhtar, the player is currently only at Lyon until the end of the season, as part of the exceptional system established by FIFA. “I am relieved to be able to revive his passion and very measured, even in his joy after his goal on Sunday, underlines Isabelle Dias. She repeated it: this is just the beginning of his dream, a new life begins for him and announces that he wants to mark the history of OL. “This illusion, without a doubt, will go through a longer adventure than the two months that remain of this season.

Franck Henouda, who advised Tetê’s agent to favor OL “and their extraordinary framework for Brazilian players” over AC Milan and other interested big European clubs, has little doubt that he is spreading at Lyon, but also that he shines in Ligue 1. :: “He comes out of a very stressful month and his life is football. He has so many fangs that we will see him blossom and even fly across the ground. After the winning goal two minutes into the game against Angers, what can be in store for OL’s crucial European match this Thursday at London’s Olympic Stadium?

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