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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
Jul 24, 2014

Midfielder Fred returns to Shakhtar

Six of Shakhtar Donetsk's best players have refused to return to Ukraine after playing a friendly against Lyon in France.

Brazilian midfielder Fred has returned to Shakhtar Donetsk after initially refusing to travel back to Ukraine following the Malaysian Airlines disaster.

Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine last Thursday, killing all 298 people on board, while coach Mircea Lucescu has confirmed that Shakhtar will be based in Kiev and play home games in Lviv as a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Donetsk is currently controlled by pro-Russian rebels, with the Ukrainian army attempting to regain control of the city, and Fred -- along with Alex Teixeira, Dentinho, Douglas Costa, Facundo Ferreyra and Ismaily -- opted to stay in Geneva after a recent friendly against Lyon, citing security concerns.

However, the 23-year-old midfielder has since returned, with the club confirming on their official website: "Shakhtar continues to prepare for the start of the Ukrainian league season. Fred returned to the team camp. In the coming days, they expect Ismaily to join the Pitmen."

Shakhtar trio Costa, Teixeira and Dentinho insisted in Brazilian media outlet Globo that their safety must come first, with the latter explaining: "We made our decision exclusively with our families before meeting with the group of Brazilians. We want to clarify that we don't have any issues with the club.

"We have always turned up to play in previous seasons, within the dates required, and with strict respect to what the managers have put together. But this time, given the conflict within the country, we are afraid and don't want to put the lives of our families, nor our own, at risk."

Lucescu previously told the Segodnya newspaper that agent Kia Joorabchian had persuaded the players not to return as he wants to free them from their contracts "just to make money."

Fellow Ukrainian side FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk have announced the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against FC Copenhagen will be played in Kiev after UEFA ruled the match cannot take place at the Dnipro-Arena due to security concerns.

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