Who Is Oleksandr Zinchenko: Early Life, Education, Career, Personal Life and Net Worth
|Who Is Oleksandr Zinchenko: Early Life, Education, Career, Personal Life, Net Worth
Oleksandr Volodymyrovych Zinchenko (Ukrainian: Олександр Володимирович Зінченко; born 15 December 1996) is a Ukrainian professional footballer who plays as a defender or midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City and the Ukraine national team.
Zinchenko began his career at Russian Premier League team Ufa before joining Manchester City in 2016 for a fee around £1.7 million. A versatile player, he started his career as an attacking midfielder, but eventually converted into a left back or wing back under Pep Guardiola. He has since won four Premier League titles, four League Cups and an FA Cup with the club.
A full Ukrainian international since 2015, Zinchenko represented his country at UEFA Euro 2020.
Oleksandr Zinchenko Biography: Early Life & Education
|Photo: Getty Images
Oleks was six when his mother, Irina, took him to a trial at the local football academy in Radomyshl, but that first experience of the game he would come to excel at delivered a harsh lesson.
Younger and smaller than others, Zinchenko struggled to make an impression and was unsuccessful, but, undeterred, he returned a year later, stronger and determined to have more of an impact.
Only, his return did not work out as planned.
Oleks saw little of the ball and he headed home to complain to his mother that the other boys weren’t passing to him.
His frustrations were met with a firm response from Irina, who told him, “If they won’t pass to you, go and win the ball!”
After that early setback his first experience of organised football turned out to be a great learning curve and much like his City career, he made a gradual impression, before eventually establishing himself as a regular and captaining the side.
It became clear Zinchenko was destined for greater things and within five years of that ill-fated trial his services were being courted by bigger clubs.
Monolith, a team from the Odessa region of Ukraine, was his next destination, after the 11-year-old caught the eye of a passing scout and it was a transfer which introduced him to someone who would have a profound impact on both his career and life in general.
Victor, the man Oleks now calls his stepfather, was his first coach at Monolith.
He had years of experience developing young players and knew talent when he saw it, which was exactly what he identified in his future stepson, despite the poor facilities in which he had previously honed his game.
“I knew the conditions he was training in at his first academy in Radomyshl,” Victor explains.
“Frankly, they were not conditions for professional football players. That’s why I can say that he developed his skills on the street. He grew up playing street football.
“I took him to Monolith and turned my attention to his touch. He wanted to learn quickly. He was a creative football player.”
Just like the present day Oleks, it was his eagerness to improve and his composed, intelligent use of the ball which stood out and back then, it set him apart from his peers.
“Many people said that it would be difficult to work with him,” adds Victor. “ In some moments he was a bit stubborn. But I’m a strict coach!
“Since childhood his composure has allowed him to excel. He was dedicated to his work. If he lost the ball, it happened not because of his mistake.”
Oleksandr Zinchenko: Club career
|Photo: Getty Images
Zinchenko was born in Radomyshl, Zhytomyr Oblast. He is a product of Youth Sporitve School Karpatiya of his native Radomyshl (with first coach Serhiy Boretskyi), FC Monolit Illichivsk and Shakhtar Donetsk, where he became the captain of the youth team. On 9 December 2013, he scored a goal in a 1–1 draw with Manchester United in the 2013–14 UEFA Youth League.
He moved with his parents to Russia due to the war in Donbas. Shakhtar Donetsk wanted him back despite offering no playing time, but he did not return for security reasons. He spent 5 to 6 months with amateur leagues in Moscow. He then trained with Rubin Kazan but the club did not sign him to a contract since Zinchenko was still under contract to Shakhtar, and Rubin would risk incurring a transfer ban if they attempted to sign him.
On 12 February 2015, he signed a contract with Ufa. He made his Russian Premier League debut for Ufa on 20 March 2015 in a match against FC Krasnodar. On 25 July 2015, he scored his first goal in a 1–2 defeat against FC Rostov.
|Photo: Getty Images
On 4 July 2016, Zinchenko signed for Premier League club Manchester City for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £1.7 million. The move surprised some. However, he was described by a Russian football scout as a "real talent", with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund also monitoring him.
Zinchenko was loaned to Eredivisie club PSV on 26 August, for the 2016–17 season. He made his debut on 1 October, as a substitute in a 1–1 draw against SC Heerenveen.
Zinchenko returned to Manchester City for the 2017–18 season, and made his debut on 24 October 2017, playing the full match including extra time in a 0–0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the EFL Cup. He made his first Premier League appearance on 13 December 2017, coming off the bench in a 4–0 away win at Swansea City.
On 18 December 2017, Zinchenko scored the winning penalty kick against Leicester City after a 1–1 stalemate in regulation time, sending Manchester City through to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup.
Zinchenko gained an extended run in the side following injuries to left backs Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph, putting in a number of consistent performances in the position.
Zinchenko made his first appearance of the 2018–19 season in a 3–0 away win at Oxford United in the EFL Cup. In the same week, he made his first league start of the season in a 2–0 home win against Brighton & Hove Albion, due to injuries to Mendy and Delph.
He made his international debut in a UEFA Euro 2016 qualification match against Spain on 12 October 2015. Zinchenko scored his first international goal in a friendly against neighbours Romania in Turin, which Ukraine won 4–3 on 29 May 2016. He also became Ukraine's youngest player to score an international goal at the age of 19 years and 165 days, beating a record held since 1996 by Andriy Shevchenko.
Zinchenko was included in Ukraine's squad for Euro 2016, appearing as a substitute for Viktor Kovalenko in both of Ukraine's first two matches, against Germany and Northern Ireland as Ukraine failed to score and were the first team eliminated.
On 24 March 2021 in the match against France, he became Ukraine's youngest player captain in their history at the age 24 years and 98 days. Later on, he was included in the squad for Euro 2020. On 29 June 2021, he scored the first goal and assisted the second goal in the Euro 2020 round of 16 match against Sweden, which ended in a 2–1 win for Ukraine after extra time, for which he was awarded the Star of the Match.
In August 2020, he married journalist Vlada Sedan (Shcheglova). They have one daughter.
Oleksandr Zinchenko Net Worth
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Oleksandr Zinchenko hailed as ‘incredible’ by Pep Guardiola and Man City teammate
To say it’s been a difficult season for Oleksandr Zinchenko would be an almighty understatement.
Despite winning the Premier League title with Manchester City, it has been played amidst a backdrop of a war raging in his home country of Ukraine.
And when his national side travelled to Scotland for their World Cup play-off semi-final earlier this week, the versatile 25-year-old inspired his side to an emotional 3-1 victory at Hampden Park.
It teed up a final with Wales on Sunday, with the winner knowing a victory will see them qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.
And his summer could be set to become even more eventful, with a potential transfer on the horizon.
Reports that Man City are reportedly closing in on the signing of Brighton left-back Marc Cucurella would see his chances of playing in defence – which isn’t even necessarily his favoured position – decrease.
Zinchenko, who tends to flourish best when playing in midfield, especially for his country, is said to be attracting interest from multiple Premier League clubs, including Newcastle and Everton.
That’s according to The Athletic, who state that the four-time Premier League winner could be set to leave Manchester during this transfer window.
The other team to have been heavily linked with him is Arsenal, where he could reunite with his former City coach Mikel Arteta.
Links with the Gunners come eight years after he was first wanted by the north Londoners, with their legendary boss Arsene Wenger demanding that the then-17-year-old was signed.
“Two years ago, Arsene Wenger phoned me,” Sandor Varga, the player’s representative, told Russian paper Sovetskiy Sport.
“Zinchenko was 17 then and Shakhtar played Arsenal in the UEFA Youth League. Arsene watched the match and immediately called me, saying: ‘I need Zinchenko’.
“[Arsenal] made an offer but there were some problems and then Zinchenko was discovered by a lot of people.”
Instead, the youngster moved from Shakhtar to FC Ufa and impressed for Ukraine at Euro 2016, which then saw Guardiola snap him up.
Kyle Walker recently praised his teammate and, when asked about his technical ability, rated him higher than Kevin De Bruyne. That’s high praise.
“Technical ability, not in any order, because I wouldn’t want to put them in any order,” Walker told Michael Timbs.
“My top three are: Zinchenko, Mahrez, [Bernado] Silva.”
On the Ukrainian, he added: “He’s incredible, he’s incredible. Two-touch, head tennis, [Teqball], he’s incredible. So, so good.”
And Guardiola has always been extremely complimentary about his makeshift left-back too, and praised his ‘incredible’ attitude when he was close to a move away from the club a few years ago.
“Incredible is the only thing I can say,” Guardiola said in 2019. “Oleks has showed me the importance and value of being a good guy.
“At the beginning of the season he was close to making a transfer, and I never saw him have one bad face or had a bad training session from him.
“Some players want to show me how disappointed they are, but Zinchenko is the complete opposite. When this happens, you are always going to play good.
“He is going to have a long career, here (at City) hopefully!”
If his time in Manchester does come to an end this summer, it hasn’t necessarily been as long as Guardiola predicted.
But, having won ten trophies during his time at the Etihad Stadium, it has undoubtedly been successful.
Arsenal receive Oleksandr Zinchenko transfer boost as Man City initiate plan
Arsenal have been dealt a boost in their pursuit of Oleksandr Zinchenko, with Manchester City reportedly stepping up their efforts to bring Marc Cucurella to the Etihad Stadium.
Ukraine international Zinchenko often plays in midfield for his country, but has featured more regularly at left-back under Pep Guardiola. However, with Brighton & Hove Albion star Cucurella impressing the City boss, the door could be open for Zinchenko to move south.
The 25-year-old joined from Russian outfit FC Ufa back in 2016, and has played more than 100 times for City including 76 appearances in the Premier League. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta knows the left-sided player from their time together in Manchester, with Arteta working as one of Guardiola's coaching team before taking over in north London.
According to Metro, Arsenal aren't the only side in the mix for Zinchenko. West Ham United and Everton are also thought to be keen, though the combination of Europa League football and a chance to play in midfield could help the Gunners swing things in their favour.
The 52-cap international made just 10 league starts last season as Manchester City clinched the Premier League title on the final day of the season. He has four league winners' medals to his name, the first coming in 2017-18 after he returned from a loan spell at PSV Eindhoven.
He also wore the captain's armband for his country as they fell just short of World Cup qualification. Ukraine beat Scotland in their play-off semi-final, only to fall to a 1-0 defeat to Wales with Zinchenko admitting he and his teammates "left everything on the pitch".
Arsenal have already been busy in the transfer market as they look to build on last season's fifth place finish. Brazilian youngster Marquinhos has joined from Sao Paulo, while Fabio Vieira has joined from Porto in a £34m deal.
“Playing in the Premier League won’t be easy and I promise only to work, work, work," the Portuguese midfielder said upon completing the deal. "My agent worked on the deal between the two clubs and I accepted the deal because it was important for all parties. I have always watched the Premier League on TV."
Zinchenko isn't the only other target for Arsenal, and he's not even the only City player on their radar. Gabriel Jesus remains a potential signing as the Gunners aim to strengthen in attack, while links with Leeds United star Raphinha have not gone away.
City themselves, meanwhile, have already added Erling Haaland to their ranks, while January signing Julian Alvarez is expected to be part of the picture after spending the last few months on loan at former club River Plate. Guardiola's side have also made their first sale, with Pedro Porro moving to Sporting CP after a successful loan.
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