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Polish icon Lewandowski's pledge to wear Ukrainian armband at World Cup 2022 wins hearts

Barcelona star and Polish icon Robert Lewandowski expressed his increased support for Ukraine by pledging to wear an armband with the nation's blue-and-yellow flag colours to the Qatar World Cup in November 2022.

football Polish icon Robert Lewandowski pledge to wear Ukrainian armband at World Cup 2022 wins hearts snt
First Published Sep 21, 2022, 9:23 PM IST

In a gesture that has won the hearts of several Ukrainians, iconic Polish footballer and Barcelona star Robert Lewandowski has showcased increased support toward the war-torn nation and pledged to wear an armband in the country's blue-yellow flag colours for the Qatar World Cup 2022.

Following Russia's armed invasion of Ukraine in February, Lewandowski expressed his opposition and urged Poland to abstain from taking on Russia in a World Cup qualifying match.

Also read: Lewandowski quotes Mandela in plea for Ukrainians after winning Laureus Award

The two-time FIFA world player of the year received the Ukrainian armband as a gift from the country's legend, Andriy Shevchenko, at Poland's national stadium in Warsaw on Tuesday.

"Thank you Andriy. It was a pleasure to meet you!" the Poland talisman wrote on his Instagram account. 

"It will be an honor for me to carry this captain's armband in the colors of Ukraine to the World Cup," Lewandowski added.

Meanwhile, Shevchenko, who is currently an ambassador for Laureus thanked Lewandowski for his support. "For me, the captain's armband is a symbol of leadership, strength and passion for your country. I want to pass this armband to Robert to thank him for his support, his voice and his platform to support my country and call for peace," the Ukrainian legend said.

Ukraine fell to Wales in a postponed playoff final until June to enable the team to prepare while the war that shut down domestic football was going on. Poland had gone through the playoffs to the World Cup in Qatar.

Also read: Buildup and nuclear threat: Has Russian President Putin's downfall begun? Ukraine and the world reacts

At the competition from November 20 to December 18, Poland will compete in Group C alongside Argentina, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia.

Ukraine's national and club teams have played "home" matches in international competitions at Polish stadiums this season, thanks to the strong football ties between the two countries that co-hosted the 2012 European Championship.

football Polish icon Robert Lewandowski pledge to wear Ukrainian armband at World Cup 2022 wins hearts snt

Ukraine will complete their UEFA Nations League program in Poland next week, hosting Scotland at Krakow.

Shevchenko, the 2004 Ballon d'Or winner and a standout striker with AC Milan, coached the Ukraine team when they reached the Euro 2020 quarterfinals last year.

On Tuesday, UEFA also said that Russia will not be permitted to participate in the 2024 European Championship.

Also read: Will Cristiano Ronaldo retire after World Cup 2022? Portugal legend reveals future plans

Meanwhile, Lewandowski's pledge to wear the Ukrainian armband for the World Cup 2022 in Qatar has received immense appreciation from several supporters of Ukraine and football enthusiasts.

"Great friend of Ukraine," noted on user on Twitter. Another user added, "Thank you, @lewy_official, thank you, @pzpn_pl, thank you, Poland, for being true friends of Ukraine!"

Here's a look at some of the reactions on the micro-blogging site:

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