Andriy Shevchenko will swap his boots for golf spikes on Thursday when he makes his debut on the continent’s second-tier Challenge Tour.
The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker will compete alongside ex-Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson and former European Tour winner Nick Dougherty at the Kharkov Superior Cup in his native Ukraine.
“This is the first big event for me and, of course, it is the first event in Ukraine so it’s a huge event for golf in this country,” Shevchenko said.
“I have played with many good players in pro-ams but this is different. I hope I play well... But I just want to have a good time and enjoy the week.”
The tournament offers a prize fund of £170,000 and will be held at the Superior Golf and Spa Resort in Kharkov.
Shevchenko ended his practice round on Wednesday by almost holing a sublime chip for birdie. The 36-year-old is a regular practice partner of fellow footballer Jamie Redknapp when teeing it up in the UK. However, he’s very familiar with Superior Golf and Spa Resort too.
“I know this course for many years, since it first opened, and I love it here. It’s nice the Challenge Tour have decided to come here. It’s great for us," said Shevchenko.
“The course is quite difficult,” said former Ukraine forward Shevchenko, who was voted European Footballer of the Year in 2004.
“I’m happy with my game at the moment. I know the president of the club, he is a good friend and his daughter has been caddying for me. He invited me to come and I had to.”
Shevchenko had earlier said he is studying for his coaching badges in the hope of becoming a football manager in the future.
The former Chelsea and AC Milan striker retired from the game last year after a successful career spanning 18 seasons.
He was initially hoping to go into politics, but the 36-year-old is now thinking about returning to football instead.