Society

Ukraine was a hotspot for Brazilian footballers. Now they are stuck in a war zone

The Ukrainian league has become an entry point for Brazilian footballers dreaming of playing in Europe. But their careers have been put at risk due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict

football Center-back Marlon Santos, 26, arrived at Shakhtar Donetsk last year. Photo: Stanislav Vedmid/Shutterstock
Center-back Marlon Santos, 26, arrived at Shakhtar Donetsk last year. Photo: Stanislav Vedmid/Shutterstock

“There’s no fuel. The border is closed. The airspace is closed,” said Brazilian football player Marlon Santos, speaking on an Instagram video from a hotel in Ukraine. “There’s no way for us to get out.” 

The center-back, who plays for major Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, recorded the video alongside a group of fellow players and their wives. They claim to be trapped in a hotel and request assistance from the Brazilian government to flee the country.

As a matter of fact, Brazilians make up the biggest diaspora of foreign footballers in Ukraine, with a total of 33 players plying their...

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