Artem Milevskyi is a Ukrainian footballer or Belarussian origins who burst onto the scene as a youngster with Dynamo Kyiv but saw his career derailed by off the field antics. He was famed on the pitch for his excellent skill, despite his larger build and he is famed off it for his lavish lifestyle and frequent visits to bars and night clubs.
Born on the 12th January 1985 in Minsk, Milevskyi started his youth career for Smena Minsk. He moved to Kyiv in 2001 joining the youth ranks FC Obukhiv before he quickly transferring to FC Borysfen-Boryspil in 2001 and played for their second side. He was quickly noticed by scouts of Ukraine’s most successful side Dynamo Kyiv and after three goals in eight appearances for Borysfen-2, Milevskyi joined Dynamo Kyiv’s academy. On the international stage, Milevskyi represented Belarus at U16 level, but once he transferred to Kyiv, he began representing Ukraine and was an instant hit, scoring five goals in as many appearances for the U17 Ukraine side in 2001-02.
In the youth side for Dynamo, Milevskyi impressed and made his debut for Dynamo in the UEFA Champions League in 2003, appearing as a substitute in a game against Interazionale of Italy. Despite making this debut, he didn’t feature again for Dynamo and once again only made one appearance in the 2004/05 season; in 05/06 he scored four goals in thirteen first team appearances for Dynamo.
In 2004 he was part of the Ukraine U19 side which reached the 2004 UEFA U19 European Championships and then in 2005 the Ukrainian youth side which reached the last-16 of the FIFA World Youth Championships.
2006 was the year of Milevskyi’s big break through, having appeared regularly toward the end of the 2005/06 season with Dynamo, he was picked in the team of the tournament for the 2006 UEFA European U21 Championships. He scored 2 goals, including a “Panenka” penalty against Holland in the opening game, as Ukraine went on to finish the competition as runners-up, losing to Holland in the final. His contribution for the junior side was noted by the then Ukraine head-coach, Oleh Blokhin and he, along with several of this fellow U21 colleagues was called up to the Ukraine senior side for the 2006 World Cup. He ended his career for the U21’s as the record appearance holder, but has since lost this record to Oleksandr Yatsenko.
Milevskyi made his debut for Ukraine coming on for Andriy Shevchenko in the 4:0 win over Saudi Arabia in Ukraine’s second group game of the competition. It was in the quarter-finals of the competition however, which Milevskyi really announce himself as he volunteered himself to be one of Ukraine’s penalty takers. After Shevchenko had missed his penalty, Milevskyi faced a pressure shot stepping up second, but he repeated his trick from the U21 championships as he performed another successful “Panenka” which set off Ukraine on the way to a 3:0 penalty shootout win and the quarter finals of the World Cup.
The on-field success continued for Milevskyi as he was part of the Dynamo side that remained unbeaten throughout the 2006/07 season contributing eight goals as Dynamo won the title. Milevskyi struggled with injuries in the next season but arguably had the best year of his career yet in 2008/09. Dynamo were now under the management of the Russian Yuriy Syomin and he was able to get the best out of the pairing of Artem Mielvskyi and Olexandr Aliyev. The two shined in a scintillating double legged performance against Dynamo’s Soviet rivals Spartak Moscow. Dynamo came out 8-2 aggregate winners, with Milevskyi scoring four of the goals. He finished the campaign with 18 goals, a career high.
Despite this, he was being warned about his off-field behaviour from the club. Milevskyi and his friend Olexandr Aliyev received significant fines from the club in 2009 for breaching club discipline. The duo were seen out in night clubs breaking the clubs curfew.
He improved again in the next season as he scored 19 and led Dynamo to the title and the UEFA Cup semi-final where they lost out to eventual champions, Shakhtar Donetsk. He was linked with a move to some of the biggest sides in Europe at this time, including Liverpool but a rumoured move never materialised and Milevskyi remained at Dynamo.
This appeared to be the pinnacle for Milevskyi however as injuries and his off field behaviour caused concerns. Syomin left Dynamo and despite being made captain under Valery Gazzayev, his discipline ran away from him. His attitude continued to deteriorate even after the return of Yuriy Syomin and once Oleh Blokhin took over at Dynamo, Milevskyi’s fate at the blue-whites was sealed. On Blokhin’s presentation, Milevskyi appeared at the club base in his bathrobe and not in official Dynamo training wear. The two fell out and when Milevskyi’s contract expired in 2013, he was released from his Dynamo and became a free agent. In his time at Dynamo, he contributed to four league titles, four Ukrainian Cups and five Ukrainian Super Cups. He was named Ukrainian footballer of the year in 2008 and 2009, while being Ukrainian Premier League top scorer in 2009/10.
In his time at Dynamo, Milevskyi made nearly 200 appearances and scored 57 league goals. He is in Dynamo’s all time top 10 goalscorers, but could have achieved a lot more and become a real legend for the club.
With Ukraine, he continued to progress after the 2006 World Cup and was a regular for the side for the remainder of his career. He scored the first of his eight senior international goals against Cyprus in 2008. He played at Euro 2012 which Ukraine hosted, but he didn’t score and couldn’t help Ukraine beyond the group stage. This turned out to be Milevskyi’s last contribution for Ukraine as he hasn’t been picked for the national side since, ending his career with 50 appearances.
After his release from Dynamo, he moved to Turkey were he joined Gaziantepspor in a three year deal. He only lasted four months and was released in December 2013, he made more headlines off the pitch than on it as he crashed his Ferrari California and continued his bad off the field habits. incidentally, this was not the first time Milevskyi had been involved in a car crash with him having several in Kyiv while at Dynamo, it emerged he never passed a test, but bribed his instructor, a claim later denied. He moved on from Turkey to Aktobe, but after less than a week his contract was cancelled as he battled the alcoholism which had derailed his career. After several months away from football, Milevskyi claimed he had cleaned up his act and made a much publicized return to the game as he moved to Croatia and joined Hajduk Split. He made a positive start and had a relatively good first year for Hajduk with the occasional glimmer of the excellent talent and ability that Milevksyi possessed. Unfortunately Hajduk didn’t have success on the pitch and following a change of manager, Milevskyi fell out of favour and was released from the club by mutual termination.
Without a club, he was given a lifeline by his former team-mate Goran Sablic who was working as manager at RNK Split. Despite being warned about his conduct, Milevskyi was sacked less than two months into his stay with the club to the disappointment of Sablic who had entrusted his former colleague and friend.
In January 2016, Milevskyi signed for Romanian side Concorida. He has picked up form and has been a key player for the side since signing. However, any hopes of a return to the National Side were put to be as Mykhaylo Fomenko said the level of Concordia is not enough for Milevskyi to return to Zbirna. Milevskyi is surely one of the biggest wastes of talents in Ukrainian football. When he was committed and showcased his true ability he was a fine footballer with the world at his feet. However his lack of dedication to the game and his ill-discipline and party life style meant that his talent has gone to waste.
Artem Milevskyi, the party-lover who promised so much, but didn’t fulfil his potential, you are a fitting inductee to Viktor Leonenko’s Hall of Fame!
Profile by Petro Chymera, Vice-President of the UK Ukrainian Sports Supporters Club and Co-founder of the Viktor Leonenko Hall of Fame. Follow Petro on twitter – @PMChymera89 & @DonetskWay2012