Willian: Shakhtar experience vital
Chelsea attacker Willian has hailed the role of Shakhtar Donetsk in his development as a player.
The 25 year-old spent six years with the Ukrainian side, before joining Anzhi Makhachkala in January for €35 million. He would spend just six months in Russia, with the financial restructuring imposed by owner Suleyman Kerimov facilitating a summer move to Chelsea.
The Brazilian insists his time at Shakhtar was key to making him the player he is today.
“That was a very good experience for me,” he told The Official Chelsea FC Magazine.
“Of course, at the beginning it was very difficult because, as you can imagine, I was only 19 and I was leaving by myself to live in a foreign country - and not only a foreign country, but a totally different place in terms of culture, where the weather was always very cold. However, I think it was a great experience, because it helped me to become the man that I am today.”
As well as on the pitch development, Willian also learnt a lot off it.
“Now, at the age of 25, I have already taken on a lot of responsibilities in my life - I'm a married father of two girls and this time in Donetsk helped me to gain life experience as well as understand a different culture.
“It was very daunting to move there, but I don't have any regrets - I had lots of joy in my six years over there and now I hope to develop further with Chelsea.”
Willian believes the number of Brazilian players at Shakhtar helped him settle and hopes it will be a similar case at Chelsea.
'It was important in Donetsk that there were a few Brazilians when I arrived who could help me to adapt and to get on with doing my job, basically, and that is the case here as well,” he continued. “We have the Brazilian players and also the manager, who speaks my language, which helps a lot.'
Willian netted his first goal for Chelsea on Sunday, in a 3-1 victory at Norwich City.