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Shakhtar Donetsk director vows to ‘fight until the last minute’ against Barcelona

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Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona are aiming for their third consecutive victory in the UEFA Champions League group stages as they take on Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.

Heading into this game, there has been a wave of change in the Shakhtar Donetsk camp, with the club appointing Marino Pusic as the new head coach, following the sack of Patrick van Leeuwen.

Shakhtar’s sporting director Darijo Srna confirmed the coaching change in a media interaction heading into this game while talking about the time when Barcelona were interested in signing him.

Barcelona approached Srna in 2016

Darijo Srna has been serving as the director of Shakhtar since 2020. But during his time, he was regarded as one of the best full-backs in Eastern Europe.

In fact, none other than Barcelona were interested in signing Srna in 2016, when the player was plying his trade with Shakhtar.

Confirming the rumour, Srna said (h/t Mundo Deportivo), “Yes, I had an offer from Barcelona. Luis Enrique was the coach then. I spoke with him but I trusted in my heart and I stayed at Shakhtar. I couldn’t leave them.”

“I remember that moment with happiness because a club like Barça was interested in me but I’m still at Shakhtar,” he added.

A product of the Hajduk Split youth academy, Srna played for Shakhtar for 15 years, before eventually leaving the club in 2018. He then returned to the club in 2020, as the main sporting director.

Darijo Srna is confident in Shakhtar’s new coach (Photo by Selim Sudheimer/Getty Images)

Srna on Xavi’s compliment

Apart from confirming the Barcelona rumours, Darijo Srna also reacted to Xavi’s compliment heading into the game.

“I am happy that a coach says something like that. We have come to play well and fight until the last minute. Barça are the favourite but we come to score and win. The best will come out,” he said.

The Croat also reflected on Barcelona’s injury problems, adding, “Yes, they have missing starters but so do we. We have had a bad time and we haven’t been able to play.”

Moreover, the former left-back conveyed his confidence in the new coach, Marino Pusic, who was previously serving as an assistant manager at Feyenoord.

“I am convinced that he will give good results starting with this match,” Srna said. On a rather joking note, he added, “If we win, I will win and if not, we will both lose.”

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