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Euro 2020/2021: Arnautovic and his old demons: “I’m not a racist!”

While Marko Arnautovic’s volcanic character has subsided in recent years, the Austrian striker has somewhat relapsed by insulting an opponent during the European Championship. However, his country, where he is an idol, relies on him for Monday’s decisive match against Ukraine in Bucharest, after being punished by UEFA with a suspension match. His insult, after the last goal that scored North Macedonia (3-1), directed at the Albanian-born footballer Ezgjan Alioski, it cost Arnautovic to miss the second clash of the Austrians, against the Netherlands.

“They provoked him,” said his coach, Franco Foda. Unfortunately, carried away by emotion, he overreacted. But he admitted his mistake, he apologized to the other player after the game and, most importantly, he made his apologies publicly, ”said the Austria manager. Franco Foda confirmed this Sunday that Arnautovic will start this Monday against the Ukrainians.

Arnautovic intoned his ‘mea culpa’: “There were some words a bit fired in the emotion of the match for which I would like to present my apologies, especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania,” he wrote on his Instagram account. “I am not racist! I have friends in almost every country and I am in favor of diversity, “added the forward of Serbian origin.

From the maturity of his 32 years, it had taken Arnautovic a long time to remove the label of ‘enfant terrible’. LHe bequeathed to touch his compatriots before the Euro, when he collapsed at a press conference when asked about how he experienced the confinement in China, as a player of the Shanghai IPG.

Tears for the family

«I did not see my children or my family for months. It was not easy, “he said. Emotion did the rest. He put his hands to his face and began to cry, while being consoled by Foda. But the incident with Alioski has shown a somewhat less kind image and has brought to mind other episodes from the past. As a child he toured the youth teams of the clubs in the capital (Austria, Rapid Vienna, First Vienna …), sometimes challenging the patience of the coaches with his attitude, before being able to debut in the professional category at just 16 years of age. Floridsdorfer, a Viennese second division club.

At the age of 17, he went to the Dutch Twente, where he was suspected of insulting Ibrahim Kargbo (Willem II), but the investigation of the federation of that country determined that there was no evidence in this regard. At the age of 20, he landed at Inter Milan with the reputation of being a ‘new Ibrahimovic’. However, he played just three games in José Mourinho’s triplet season (2010).

“Arnautovic makes me laugh, he is a fantastic boy, but he has a child’s mentality. His best friend (Mario Balotelli) is not better, so it is not easy with the two of them together », the Portuguese coach smiled when talking about him. The Austrian striker was late to Inter training several times and was penalized for doing so, although on one occasion he was three hours early due to confusion.

Mourinho’s watch

«Mourinho applauded me and told me that he would give me his watch. I still have it, ”Arnautovic told the ‘Daily Mail’. He was traded to Werder Bremen, where he ended up exhausting the managers and several teammates. “He always stays in his corner, answers too much, always says no and has to find a balance so as not to appear so arrogant,” estimated Captain Torsten Fring.s.

His adventure at Werder also ended with an umpteenth incident, a speeding while riding in the company of his teammate Eljero Elia. ‘Arnie’ then went to Stoke City (2013) and began to calm down. His coach, the Welshman Mark Hugues, knew how to control his character and take advantage of it for the good of the team.

At West Ham he had a problem with coach David Moyes, but he won in discretion and professionalism. The words addressed to Ezgjan Alioski made one fear a ‘relapse’ to the old demons of the past, but since the incident the situation has calmed down.

One of his competitors in Austria for a position in the attack, Michael Gregoritsch, considers it “legitimate to talk” about what happened, but has made it clear in his opinion: “Marko is not a racist.”

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