Arnautovic apologises for celebration against North Macedonia but denies using racist language

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The 32-year-old was brought on at half-time in Sunday’s Group C clash and rounded off the scoring in his side’s 3-1 victory at the National Arena in Bucharest.

Arnautovic, who is of Serbian descent, appeared angry as he celebrated and had to be calmed down by captain David Alaba.

He was accused of yelling an alleged racist insult at North Macedonia players Egzon Bejtulai and Ezgjan Alioski, who both have Albanian roots.

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Serbia does not recognise the independence of its former province Kosovo, and there is historic tension between Serbia and North Macedonia.

However, former Stoke City and West Ham man Arnautovic took to social media on Monday to deny allegations that he is 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 posted on Instagram.

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“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.”

Austria’s next Group C outing is against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Thursday.

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