Brazilian football players arrive home after escaping Ukraine

Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian players have arrived home after their ordeal to leave Kyiv, Ukraine, following Russia's invasion of the country.

Thirteen Brazilian players from Shakhtar Donetsk, and Dynamo Kyiv striker Vitinho, had sought refuge with their families in a hotel in Ukraine's capital last week and asked for help to leave the country.

Among the Brazilian players to land in Sao Paulo with their families was Shakhtar defender Maycon.

"It would not be possible to define these last days in a word," Maycon told reporters after landing at Sao Paulo's airport.

"It was a mixture of feelings, of terror, of fear. Then a feeling of relief, for being able to leave and with everyone well."

Maycon, accompanied by his wife, young child and parents, left Ukraine by land for Romania and eventually travelled to Frankfurt before flying to Brazil.

The former Corinthians star, who has played in Ukraine since 2018, said of the invasion: "It took us a little by surprise. We knew about the risk, but we had a lot of information, and we didn't believe it would be like that. The biggest sadness was because I had a wife, son, father and mother with me and I didn't want them to go through that. But thank God we all left together."

Shakhtar defender Marlon Santos, who landed in Rio Janeiro with his wife and three children, thanked UEFA and the Ukraine Football Federation for helping them leave Kyiv to safety.

Marlon is still coming to terms with what they experienced.

He said: "The Feeling of terror and despair at every moment. We heard the noise of fighter jets, the noise of bombs... It was a horrible situation. But there were people that were willing to take risks, such as (Shakhtar's Brazilian striker) Junior Moraes, who managed to go after food, diapers for children."

Maycon and club teammate Dodo are under contract with Shakhtar until December 2025.

Asked if he will return to Ukraine once the war is over, Maycon said: "I still haven't stopped to think about it. I just thought about getting out of there. Ukraine is suffering a lot and I'm really sad about that. We have great friends there; we are sorry for them and I hope that everything will be resolved."

Dodo added: "I just got out of a war and it's not the time to think about football. I just want to enjoy my family. And root for Ukraine because it's a country I love."