I won LaLiga with Lionel Messi at Barcelona but was voted seventh worst transfer – I made 'unacceptable mistakes' | The Sun

LIONEL MESSI's former team-mate Dmytro Chygrynskiy has admitted that he made "unacceptable mistakes" during his time at Barcelona.

Chygrynskiy arrived at the Nou Camp in 2009 as Pep Guardiola's statement signing at the heart of Barcelona's defence.

But his time in at the club turned out to be a nightmare and he went on to be voted as Bareclona's seventh worst signing of all time.

The defender had impressed Pep with his ability to pass out from the back when playing for Ukraine side Shakhtar Donetsk which led to Barca paying a then hefty £20million sum for him.

He joined a star-studded side fresh off the back of winning the Treble and included the likes of Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Yaya Toure.

Reflecting on the transfer in an interview with Spanish outlet Relevo in May, Chygrynskiy said he was struck with a degree of disbelief when he heard of Barca's interest: "We [Shakhtar and Barcelona] were in the same Champions League group with Sporting and Basel. In Donetsk, we played very well although we lost 1-2 at the end [against Barcelona].


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"After the game, Jordi Cruyff, who was at Metalurg Donetsk at the time, told me that Guardiola was raving about me. The truth is that I never thought it would go any further."

It was in the summer of 2009 that Chygrynskiy realised that Pep's interest was very real indeed when the Catalan called him to try and secure his signature.

He said: "The moment when I really saw that it was serious [Barcelona's interest] was when Guardiola called me while I was in Switzerland for pre-season.

"That’s when I really got ‘scared’. Pep told me: ‘I want you to be Piqué’s partner for many years. Trust me, I like your ball control, your first pass…’. I was in shock."

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Chygrynskiy would go on to make just 14 appearances for the Barcelona first team as he struggled to find a way into a side that contained Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Rafael Marquez and Gabriel Milito.

When he did get a chance in the starting XI, his game was often characterised by mistakes and his lack of pace was cruelly exposed in Pep's high line.

The defender said he has regrets regarding how he spent his time at Barca, and admits to making mistakes.

He said: "I was in too much of a hurry. I put too much pressure on myself. Pep told me: ‘Just do what I ask you to do, don’t overthink.'

"Unfortunately, experience comes with time, not when you’re young. I don’t regret anything, I gave my best. But if I could go back, I would listen more. To Pep, to the physical trainers, to my environment… But I wanted to do everything immediately.

"Now I think about it and it was a great opportunity to learn without rushing from Márquez, Milito, Puyol… but at the same time you have the ambition to play. You’re not satisfied with just being there. You want to be important."

But instead of biding his time in the squad, Chygrynskiy was keen on a return to Shakhtar and would return to the Ukrainian side after just a year in Catalonia.

Barca were so willing to let him go that they would recoup just £8m of the original £20m transfer fee they paid for him.

He admitted that his time at Barca was a disappointment for him personally and his game was unfortunately full of errors, saying: "It’s Barca. You’re not going to get two, three, or four chances. If you’re not good enough, one year is a long time.

"On a general level, I don’t think I failed, but if we talk about some specific games, yes, I failed. And that’s the price you pay at Barca."

After leaving the club, Chygrynskiy returned to Shakhtar Donetsk and spent close to five years at the club before signing for Dnipro.

In 2016, he moved to Greece by signing for AEK Athens, where he was until 2021.

Now aged 36, he rejoined Shakhtar for a third stint this summer.

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The club has been decimated by foreign players leaving amidst the Ukraine war but having veterans like Chygrynskiy return has been a huge boost.

Shakhtar currently play their home matches in Poland, like much of the Ukraine league, which has allowed Ukrainian football to start up again during the war with Russia.

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