Marko Arnautovic has a long history of shocking moments
Marko Arnautovic’s ‘I’m f***ing your Albanian mother’ outburst has cost him a one-match Euros ban, but it’s just the Austrian bad boy’s latest scandal… Jose Mourinho says he has ‘the attitude of a child’ and even his own team-mates think he’s ‘arrogant’
- Marko Arnautovic faced the prospect of being banned for the rest of Euro 2020
- The Austria striker was investigated for an alleged racist outburst on Sunday
- He was eventually let off as he was handed a one-match ban at the tournament
- The former West Ham striker has a history of being caught up in ugly scandals
- He has been labelled a ‘child’ and ‘arrogant’ by former bosses and team-mates
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here
To see Marko Arnautovic courting controversy at Euro 2020 won’t have come as a surprise to those that know him, even if the allegations this time are more serious than previous.
The Austria striker faced the prospect of a premature end to his participation in the tournament if a UEFA investigations unit found him guilty of racism following his outburst against North Macedonia on Sunday.
In the end it was a lenient punishment that was delivered; a one-match ban which rules him out of Thursday’s match against Holland. There was no mention of racism in the verdict delivered by UEFA.
Arnautovic grabbed the final goal in his side’s 3-1 win, but followed up his strike by aiming a verbal diatribe at defender Ezgjan Alioski. According to reports, he told the Leeds United defender: ‘I’m f***ing your Albanian mother’. Arnautovic, who has Serbian roots, was stoking the tensions that are borne out of the Kosovo war when Albania and Serbia stood on opposite sides.
Marko Arnautovic was investigated for an alleged racist outburst against North Macedonia. UEFA eventually handed the ex-West Ham striker a one-match ban at Euro 2020 tournament
It is not the first time that the feud has been brought into focus in UEFA competition, with a match between Albania and Serbia abandoned in 2014 when a drone carrying an Albanian flag sparked riots in the stands.
In 2018, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri were fined £7,600 each after the Swiss duo, who have Albanian links, celebrated by putting their hands together to form a double-headed eagle, similar to the one on the Albanian flag during a game against Serbia.
The 32-year-old posted a statement on social media to apologise and insist he is not racist
This alleged attack from Arnautovic however, was a little less subtle, to the point where the player has already apologised.
It was clear from the actions of his captain David Alaba, desperately trying to keep the striker’s mouth shut by gripping it tight, that the words spewing from the 32-year-old’s lips were not fit for broadcast purposes.
The apology that followed from Arnautovic was swift, though he was at pains to state he was not racist.
‘There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to apologise – especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania,’ he acknowledged.
‘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.’
His team-mates have backed him up – Augsburg’s Michael Gregoritsch just one to jump to his defence on Tuesday.
‘Marko isn’t racist at all. He’s absolutely not racist,’ he said during a press conference.
‘He was insulted and badmouthed by the opposition but then he shook hands with them afterwards and everything was OK.
‘It was completely legitimate that it has been picked up on and talked about a lot. But please, personally I have never experienced a racist player on the pitch during my football career. So, if that had happened we would have very clearly positioned ourselves against that. And Marko is not racist.’
However, it has not always been the case that team-mates have taken his side. It has been the same with coaches, too.
The Austria striker allegedly aimed a slur at North Macedonia and Leeds player Ezgjan Alioski
Arnautovic, for all his undeniable talent, has had a habit of rubbing people around him up the wrong way, be it with his behaviour or temperament.
Even from an early age, behavioural issues were clear.
Growing up in Vienna, Arnautovic would regularly switch clubs at youth level, representing four different clubs across six different spells in a six year period as he bounced between FloridsdorferAC, Austria Vienna, First Vienna and Rapid Vienna.
He was eventually snapped up by Eredivisie outfit FC Twente, where he spent three years in the first team, but controversy followed.
He was accused of using the n-word by Willem II defender Ibrahim Kargbo in March 2009, and though an investigation by the Dutch FA found no evidence, Arnautovic was shipped out on loan the following season to Inter.
Arnautovic has built himself a reputation as a confrontational star both on and off the pitch
Arnautovic fools around with Mario Balotelli at Inter training. The pair are good friends from their Serie A days
There, it was behavioural issues that appeared to rear its head again.
He struck up a friendship with another wild-child of football, Mario Balotelli – something of a red flag in the eyes of then boss Jose Mourinho.
‘Marko is a fantastic guy, but he has the attitude of a kid,’ said the Portuguese boss ahead of his first call-up to the matchday squad against Chievo.
‘Mario Balotelli is his best friend and they just happen to have the same traits. It’s not easy.’
He barely played under Mourinho, and was sent back to Twente at the end of his temporary stint.
Not keen on keeping hold of him, he was signed by Werder Bremen, immediately making the wrong impression.
‘He has his own way of doing things, which is particularly unwelcome at Bremen,’ was the ominous appraisal of club captain Torsten Frings.
‘He argues too much, often says no and must find a balance that does not come across so arrogantly.’
The incident at the heart of this assessment was understood to be an argument in a pre-season training session with his new coach.
David Moyes warned Arnautovic over his work ethic after a disappointing start at West Ham
After criticising a decision by coach Thomas Schaaf, he then kicked a ball away in frustration before refusing to do the push-ups handed down as punishment.
Despite the turbulent start, he did last three years at the Bundesliga outfit, before he made his move to the Premier League after his Bremen career also ended in ignominy.
Alongside team-mate Eljero Elia, Arnautovic was caught speeding and suspended in April 2013 until the end of the season by his club.
At Stoke, he mainly let his football do the talking. Brought in by Mark Hughes, the Welsh head coach was constant with his praise for the striker, who fired 22 league goals for the Potters in 125 appearances from a wide position.
He courted interest from other Premier League sides, and in 2017 handed in a transfer request to push through a move to West Ham.
The Austrian and his brother struggled against West Ham to secure his move to Shanghai SIPG
Arnautovic is restrained by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard as he trades words with Brazilian Willian
Having earned plenty of praise for his hard work at the bet365 Stadium, there was disappointment with his initial impact at the London Stadium.
With no goals, and a lack of work ethic, David Moyes sent out a public warning to the Austrian star.
‘I’ve told him this morning, the first time I’ve really had some time with him, and I said: “You’ll play in the team if you make goals and score goals, but if you don’t run for the team then you don’t play either”,’ Moyes said back in 2017.
‘I can accept one or the other, if you are making goals and scoring goals and the team is winning then I might not need so much of the other.’
Both his work ethic and his scoring rate improved, but once again he was agitating for a move, the club less than impressed by the public manner in which his brother courted a mega-money move to China.
China is where he still resides now, playing for Shanghai Port.
Jose Mourinho suggested Arnautovic had ‘the attitude of a child’ while together at Inter Milan
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