Shakhtar Donetsk patron Rinat Akhmetov says Paulo Fonseca ‘deserves a lot of respect’ for wanting to take charge of Roma.
Fonseca had a year left on his contract with Shakhtar, but Akhmetov was happy to release the Coach so he could fill Roma’s managerial vacancy.
“Today, we express our gratitude to Paulo Fonseca for three spectacular and bright seasons,” he told the club’s official website.
“For three years in a row, we have been holding gold medals in our hands. Together with Paulo, Shakhtar have won seven trophies: three League titles, three domestic Cups and one Super Cup, becoming the most decorated club in Ukraine.
“Paulo is an ambitious Coach who wants to try himself in the Italian League. He is not afraid to take on new challenges, and this deserves a lot of respect. I wish him victories and thank him very much!
“Paulo Fonseca has left his mark in the history of the club, his name will remain in the hearts of fans. I am sure that a part of Paulo’s heart will always stay with Shakhtar as well.”
The Portuguese also wrote an open letter of his own.
“I remember the day when I flew to Kyiv to sign a contract with Shakhtar. Some mind-blowing motivation, the will to win and excitement before the unknown - a new country, new people, everything around was alien and unfamiliar. Three years have passed.
“Today I resign [from] my position, leaving my family at Shakhtar, and leaving my second home in Ukraine.
“Ukraine gave me a lot: here we claimed victories and won trophies, here I got some unique experience.
“But the main thing that I acquired here is people. The people who were by my side every day, they believed in me and supported me.
“I am grateful to the President Rinat Akhmetov for his wisdom and assistance in everything. I am grateful to my players - we taught each other many things, without a doubt, credit for my success goes to each of you.
“I am immensely grateful to the fans - guys, you are the power! I am grateful to everyone standing behind Shakhtar’s crest: club directors, doctors, chefs, masseurs, kitmen. I say thank you to everyone today. We were a great team and I will never forget you.
“I am proud of the time I spent at Shakhtar. The only thing I regret is that I’ve never seen the Donbass Arena and haven’t felt the incredible atmosphere of the home stands, which I had heard so much about.
“The heart of Shakhtar is in Donetsk, and I feel sorry about not having played there. Leaving, I wish Shakhtar to return home. I wish them to continue winning and to get just stronger.
“I am no longer the Shakhtar manager, but I am still a big fan of theirs. At each game, I will root for the Orange-and-Black Family and look forward to more victories.
“I accept the new challenge. But Ukraine will forever remain in my heart. My son was born here, I have spent three happy years here. I don’t say ‘Goodbye’, I say ‘See you later’.”