KIEV: Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu has attacked stay-away Brazilian forward Bernard as a “Twitter footballer” for refusing to return to Ukraine after the World Cup finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Bernard was a member of the Brazilian squad humiliated in the semi-finals by Germany and then, like several other South American players, refused to return to their club immediately because of the political and military chaos in eastern Ukraine.
Donetsk is one of the cities at the heart of the strife between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine government troops. However players from Shakhtar have been re-settled in other ‘safe’ cities in central and west Ukraine and most of the Brazilians and Argentinians have returned.
Not, however, Bernard the former Atletico Mineiro winger.
Lucescu said: “His behaviour, as far as I am concerned, is inexplicable. In my 40 years as a coach I have never come across such a situation. We said goodbye to Bernard before the World Cup on May 15 and now it’s almost three months since we saw him.
“He is still being paid as per his contract but I, as his coach, have not received as much as one phone call from him – no congratulatory message on us winning the Ukraine Supercup the other week or words of support for the other players.”
Lucescu indicated that Bernard’s absence was only the latest in a series of problems with the player’s failure to commit himself to Shakhtar.
He said: “I’ve never come across any other player here who did not mix with the rest of the squad, either Brazilians or Ukrainians. It’s as if he is a player of Twitter and social media.
“The way he is behaving is not normal nor has it been explained. If Bernard changes his mind and gets serious and returns to the club which signed him for five years then perhaps things can change. But I have no idea when he may turn up.”
Bernard scored three goals in 29 games for Shakhtar last season.