Shevchenko and Rebrov both ended up in London, but fortunately one waited a lot later

Dynamo Kiev formed a fearsome strike partnership in the 1990s

BY Raf Diallo 12:34 Wednesday 24 February 2016, 12:34 24 Feb 2016

Andriy Shevchenko, left, and Sergei Rebrov, strikers for FC Dynamo Kiev soccer club, during a practice session in the Munich Olympic stadium. Their team will play FC Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the European Champions League on Wednesday, April 21st. (Picture by: DIETHER ENDLICHER / AP/Press Association Images)

As Derek Ryan reminded us on this week's politically-focused Team 33, Andriy Shevchenko has dabbled in politics in his native Ukraine.

Like former world champion boxer Vitali Klitschko, who is now Mayor of Kiev, both began their political careers well before the events which ended up with Russian-backed forces occupying parts of the country.

But Shevchenko has returned to football in recent years since his Ukraine Forward party failed to win a seat in the 2012 parliamentary elections.

Now an assistant coach in the Ukraine national team ahead of Euro 2016, he finds himself back in the same profession as his former Dynamo Kiev strike partner Serhiy Rebrov, who now manages the Ukrianian giants as they take on Manchester City in the Champions League last-16.

The tournament was one which saw the best of both Sheva and Rebrov, but for the latter it was only a brief dalliance as transfers boosted one to world class status and the other to flop.

After graduating from the Dynamo academy in the early 90s, Shevchenko scored 124 goals in all competitions for the club during his five seasons in the first team.

Meanwhile, Rebrov had been signed from Dynamo's now most fierce rivals Shakhtar Donetsk in 1992 and was equally potent between his arrival and 2000 departure. He plundered 139 goals in all competitions during that first spell as the Sheva-Rebrov combo fired to every league title in the early years of Ukraine's post-Soviet Premier League.

They peaked during the final spell of manager Valeriy Lobanovskyi - a legendary manager not just for Dynamo but also when you talk of all-time coaches if you've ever read Jonathan Wilson's excellent Inverting The Pyramid - as Dynamo made a mark in the Champions League.

In 1998-99 when Manchester United and Bayern Munich fought out the Champions League final, Dynamo almost reached that Nou Camp decider.

Eventually losing to Bayern Munich 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals it was the end of an adventure which saw Shevchenko and Rebrov share 12 goals en route to the last-four, knocking out Real Madrid in the quarter-finals and beating Arsenal 3-1 in the group stage.

Rebrov scored in both group games against the Gunners, while that year's Champions League top scorer Shevchenko scored in the home leg and also was the hero against Real as he scored Dynamo's goal in the 1-1 away leg before scoring the double in the 2-0 home return.

It was his final season at the club, before a €38 million bid from AC Milan took Shevchenko to Italy and further superstardom and trophies.

Rebrov, who stayed on a further season, was in a slightly different market with an €14 million fee in 2000 taking him to Tottenham Hotspur and a failed spell in England.

Former Arsenal boss George Graham had taken him to Spurs but was sacked one year later, by which time Rebrov had scored just 12 in 36 games in that debut season.

Arsenal's Lauren (r) battles with Tottenham Hotspur's Sergei Rebrov (l) Picture by: Neal Simpson / EMPICS Sport

It wasn't a bad goal return in hindsight but he was still judged a flop, unlike Shevchenko who knocked in 29 for Milan in his first campaign.

His second season was even worse with just three goals in all competitions, before going on loan to Fenerbahce.

Rebrov did stay in England eventually with West Ham for a season but that was an equally unhappy spell and he never settled in the country.

Indeed, Shevchenko thinks Tottenham ruined his former strike partner as he told The Mirror in 2005: "I think he made a mistake joining Tottenham - they weren't a big enough club for him.

 "I would have liked it if Sergei had joined Milan, because I feel we'd now be talking about him in a different light." 

Yet Shevchenko would also enjoy an unhappy spell in England when Roman Abramovich brought him to Chelsea past his peak and left an unhappy Jose Mourinho in a situation where he needed to accommodate a striker that wasn't part of his plans.

A four year stay at Chelsea yielded just nine Premier League goals but fortunately for him, he had truly enjoyed world class status at a club like Milan which suited him in his peak years.

Dynamo Kiev v Manchester City kicks off at 7.45pm tonight.


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