Celebrity

Ipswich Town star Bersant Celina will let Ukrainian evacuees live in his Norway apartment RENT FREE | Daily Mail Online

Ipswich Town star Bersant Celina will let Ukrainian evacuees live in his Norway apartment RENT FREE as the Kosovo midfielder looks to help refugees following Russia’s invasion

Football’s emotional response to events in Ukraine carries extra emphasis with so many players having their own lives directly impacted by conflict.

Some big names were child refugees like Luka Modric and Asmir Begovic and so too was Ipswich Town midfielder Bersant Celina, who wants to allow Ukranian evacuees to live rent-free in an apartment he recently bought as an investment.

‘It was my Dad’s idea. He thought it would be great if we could use it to help a family who had to leave Ukraine’ explains Celina, who was three years old when he escaped war in his native Kosovo to build a new life in Norway.

‘Obviously I thought it was a great idea. It is a difficult time right now and I just want to help.

‘My family went through the same when we lived in Kosovo. You know you can’t help everyone but you can make a difference to someone.

‘My apartment would be free for someone to live in as long as they need it. It is the one of the things I want to contribute with.’

Everton goalkeeper Begovic grew up in Germany and Canada during the troubles in Bosnia. Ballon d’Or winner Modric was just six when his grandfather was shot during the Balkans conflict.

Ipswich Town midfielder Bersant Celina wants to help Ukrainian evacuees build new lives

The Kosovo star is offering his Norway apartment rent-free to help those Ukrainians in need

The flat is located in Drammen, a town 20 miles outside of Olso where Celina grew up

Celina, now 23, grew up in Kosovo during a time when it was occupied by Serbia and became an epicentre during their conflict with NATO.

‘I can’t remember what happened but my mum and dad have told me stories,’ says Celina, whose playing career started at Manchester City and is currently at Portman Road on loan from French club Dijon.

‘We managed to get out just before it really blew up in Kosovo. Me and my mum and brother moved to Norway. My dad was still in Kosovo and had to escape the country in a different way.

‘Yeah, it was a difficult time. Of course there were a lot of people who were in danger and a lot who died. It was scary. It was great to come to Norway because of the difficult times.

Some big names were child refugees like Luka Modric (left) and Asmir Begovic (right)

Celina (left) was only three years old when he escaped war in Kosovo build a new life in Norway

‘A lot of Croatian, Bosnian and Kosovan footballers will know what is happening now. It will be difficult for them to see what his going on.

‘Offering my apartment is something I have decided to do. Hopefully I can do in the future with people from not in Ukraine but other countries. There are a lot of people who need help. This feels right.’

The Celina family will speak to Norwegian authorities to facilitate a Ukranian family moving into the apartment, which is located in Drammen, a town 20 miles outside of Olso where Celina grew up.

‘Hopefully we can help a small family build a future like we were able to do,’ adds Celina. ‘We moved a lot and stayed in hostels. My father arrived a few months after us, he had to be smuggled out. I can imagine it was not easy for my parents.

Celina wants to help Ukrainians escape following Russia’s brutal invasion of their country 

Ukraine’s military said Russia today renewed its assault ‘on all fronts’, with paratroopers landing in Kharkiv, tanks and trucks rolling into the centre of Kherson, and strikes in Mariupol and Zhytomyr

Celina says that the Ukranian crisis is being discussed in football dressing rooms wherever the players come from.

‘You hear people talk about it in the dressing room. You can feel the tension. It is not far away,’ he says.

‘I’m shocked that in 2022 we are going through a war in Europe, or anywhere in the world. It is so difficult, there are a lot of people suffering and it’s not nice to see.’

Ipswich Town star Bersant Celina will let Ukrainian evacuees live in his Norway apartment RENT FREE

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