Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Douglas Costa says he and his fellow Brazilian players have refused to return to the Ukrainian champion because they “all run a deadly risk” by remaining in the war-torn country, Costa wrote on his Instagram page. “I like the club, the people, the city, but I’m afraid,” the 23-year-old said in comments posted alongside a picture of the Shakhtar badge. “We want to stay at the club, but we must have risk-free working conditions.”
Costa has been with Shakhtar since 2010, winning five straight Ukrainian titles and reaching the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League in 2010-11. He and fellow Brazilians Fred, Dentinho, Alex Teixiera and Ismaily, and the Argentine striker Facundo Ferreyra, remained in France following a friendly against Lyon on Saturday.
Pro-Russian rebels currently hold Donetsk, but Ukrainian forces are said to be advancing on the city, which is just 38 miles from the site where Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed on Thursday with nearly 300 people on board.