Too much talent

Remembering when Shakhtar Donetsk had the best midfield in Europe for one year only

In 2010 Shakhtar Donetsk had one of the best midfields which was soon picked apart by bigger clubs

The Shakhtar Donetsk side that won five consecutive league titles from 2009/10 to 2013/14 were a wonderful team to watch.

Mircea Lucescu’s team blended energy, intensity, flair and ruthlessness.

The club’s president Rinat Akhmetov invested heavily in an extensive scouting system in South America which led to many Brazilians making their way to Ukraine to further their careers.

Here we’re going to focus on 2010, a year in which Shakhtar boasted arguably the best midfield in all of Europe…


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Fernandinho

Man City’s tireless workhorse spent eight years with Shakhtar and contributed more to the attacking side of the game in his younger years.

He suffered a broken leg in the 2010/11 season which ruled him out for the majority of the season.

A superb servant for the club.

Douglas Costa

Now one of the world’s most exciting wingers, the Brazilian speedster first started terrorising European defenders in a Europa League tie against Fulham in early 2010.

Bought for £4.5million, sold to Bayern for £30million five years later.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Shakhtar poached the Armenian Messi from local rivals Metalurh Donetsk in the summer of 2010.

Two seasons later he scored 25 goals in 29 league games and became Borussia Dortmund’s record signing.

Arguably the most naturally gifted and aesthetically pleasing of a very talented bunch.

Jadson

Man of the Match and extra-time goal hero in the 2009 UEFA Cup final.

It’s incredible to think he only played eight times for Brazil given his form between 2008 – 2011.

A technical master equally capable with both feet; the tell-tale sign of a proper footballer.

Willian

This is getting ridiculous now.

The big-haired Brazilian was probably Shakhtar’s best player during their Champions League exploits.

Chelsea were alerted to his abilities after he ran them ragged over two legs back in 2012.

A year later he move to Stamford Bridge.

Mariusz Lewandowski

The hard-working Pole was in his last year with Shakhtar but still contributed to the first title win of the streak.

Lewandowski was voted Polish Player of the Year in 2009 and was also selected as part of Shakhtar’s all-time XI by the club’s fans.

Ilsinho

The skillful Brazilians just keep coming.

Ilsinho ultimately made way for the aforementioned creators on this list but he was as comfortable with the ball at his feet as any of his team-mates.

A one-cap wonder for his country.

Alex Teixeira

We finish with the last of this magnificent crop to depart Shakhtar.

The 27-year-old traded Ukraine for China in January 2016 to the tune of £40million having scored 22 goals in just 15 games before the winter break.

Public opinion of Teixeira dropped significantly after the move with many labelling him a ‘gun for hire’ after dropping standards so dramatically when Liverpool and other big European clubs had expressed genuine interest.

There’s no denying his ability though.

Given that this lot now play for the likes of Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Man City it stands to reason that Shakhtar have received eye-watering transfer fees in the last few years.

In fact, they sold Fernandinho, Willian, Costa, Mkhitaryan and Teixeira for a combined total of approximately £160million.

Shakhtar’s current squad is still sprinkled with Brazilian talent and who knows, maybe another world-beating midfield is just around the corner.

The class of 2010 will be hard to top though.


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