Frank Hoermann/SVEN SIMON
Austria striker Marko Arnautovic apologized on Monday for his angry reaction to North Macedonia fans after he scored a goal in his country’s 3-1 victory on Sunday, denying racist abuse.
Arnautovic, who came off the bench in the second half to score the third goal in a comfortable victory on Sunday, was angry as he celebrated scoring before captain David Alaba intervened to contain his anger.
Media reported that the 32-year-old’s anger was also directed at two North Macedonian players of Albanian origin.
Marko Arnautovic releases statement “I am not a racist” after he went on an *alleged* anti Albanian rant after scoring vs North Macedonia yesterday, in which David Alaba physically had to shut him up. pic.twitter.com/aT3mwuHjSz
– Pubity Sport (@PubitySportIG) June 14, 2021
Arnautovic, who is of Serbian descent, said on Instagram: “There were some angry words after I got emotional during the match, for which I would like to apologize especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania.”
“I would like to say one thing very clearly: I am not a racist. I have friends in almost every country and I support diversity. Everyone who knows me knows that,” he added.
It is noteworthy that North Macedonia is participating for the first time in its history in the European Football Championship finals.
Serbia does not recognize the independence of the province of Kosovo, which was previously affiliated with it, while there is historical tension between Serbia and North Macedonia.
Austria resumes its campaign against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Thursday, while North Macedonia, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament, plays Ukraine in Bucharest.