David Alaba (left) wanted to shut up Marko Arnautović's mouth
Photo: Robert Ghement / dpa
It ran in the 89th minute, Marko Arnautović rounded North Macedonia's goalkeeper and pushed in to make it 3-1 - the decision in the Austrian championship opening game on Sunday evening.
But instead of cheering exuberantly with his teammates, the attacker turned around and swore with gestures towards the North Macedonian players.
Captain David Alaba wanted to reassure Arnautović, even tried to cover his mouth, but he could hardly be tamed.
The Austrian's tirade was apparently directed against North Macedonia's Ezgjan Alioski.
What exactly was being said could not be heard.
But there has been a lot of speculation on social media.
The Serbian newspaper Informer later claimed, referring to the television pictures and lip readability, that Arnautović had racially insulted Alioski's mother because of her Albanian origins.
This cannot be proven.
Nonetheless, Arnautović responded to the allegations on Monday.
“I am not a racist and I will never be a racist,” he said, according to the Austrian “Kurier”: “It was a battle of words in the emotions, on both sides.
That is just not part of it, we have to delete that.
I just want to apologize for all of this. ”Arnautović didn't want to say whether his tirade was really directed against Alioski.
The Austrian also commented on Instagram.
There he wrote in a story: "Especially with my friends from North Macedonia and Albania" he wanted to apologize.
»I have friends in almost every country and I stand for diversity.
Everyone who knows me knows that «, says Arnautović.
Finally, Arnautović addressed the words "Më falni", which means "sorry" in Albanian, to his followers.
Alioski has Albanian, Arnautović Serbian roots.
Both nations have been in conflict for decades.
At the request of the sports information service, the European Football Union Uefa announced that the association was not initiating “any investigations into yesterday's games”.
ptz / sid