Arnautovic insists he's 'not a racist' after celebration stirs controversy

DANIEL MIHAILESCU / AFP / Getty

Marko Arnautovic has denied claims he's racist after his intense celebration for Austria's third goal during Sunday's 3-1 win over North Macedonia caused controversy at Euro 2020.

The former Stoke City and West Ham United attacker, who has Serbian background, was accused on social media of directing an anti-Albanian slur at Egzon Bejtulai, according to The Athletic.

David Alaba subsequently grabbed Arnautovic by the face in what appeared to be an attempt to calm his teammate down. Arnautovic was then pictured in a fiery exchange with North Macedonian player Ezgjan Alioski, who also has Albanian background.

JUSTIN SETTERFIELD / AFP / Getty

"There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to APOLOGIZE - especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania," Arnautovic wrote on Instagram, per The Athletic.

"I would like to say one thing very clearly: I AM NOT A RACIST!

"I have friends in almost every country and I stand for diversity. Everyone who knows me is aware of that."

Arnautovic, 32, now plays his club football for Shanghai Port in the Chinese Super League. He was often dubbed "the bad boy of Austrian football" early in his career through his antics with the national team and with his former clubs, FC Twente, Inter Milan, and Werder Bremen. He moved to England in 2013 and left in 2019 after four years with Stoke and two years with West Ham.

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Arnautovic insists he's 'not a racist' after celebration stirs controversy
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