By Martyn Herman

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) – Ukraine midfielder Mykhailo Mudryk helped spark his side to a vital comeback Euro 2024 victory over Slovakia on Friday with a little help from his pet cat.

The 23-year-old Chelsea player often posts photos of his cat on social media and now has had his beloved short-eared tabby printed on his shin pads for the tournament in Germany.

The signs were not good after Ukraine’s 3-0 drubbing by Romania but Mudryk displayed feline-like dexterity in Duesseldorf as his side won 2-1 to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the last 16.

Mudryk is known for his quirky, and very small, custom-made shin pads. He has one pair inscribed with a Christian-inspired message “Can’t, Can’t, Can’t, Can” — with a cartoon of Jesus taking the T away and planting it atop a hill like a cross.

This time, however, it is his cat that is providing the inspiration as he prepares for Ukraine’s final Group E match against Belgium on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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