Nemanja Matic says he will not wear a poppy on his Manchester United shirt because it reminds him of when his village was bombed when he was 12.
The bombing, in 1999, was part of a Nato-led offensive to drive out Serbian forces from Kosovo. NATO launched air strikes after the failure of peace talks that were meant to end Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic’s ethnic cleansing, killing and raping campaign against Albanians in Kosovo.
On the other hand, Xherdan Shaqiri has not been included in Liverpool’s 21-man travelling squad for the Champions League match against Red Star Belgrade, with Jürgen Klopp explaining the reason behind his absence: “We have heard and read the speculation and talk about what kind of reception Shaq would receive and although we have no idea what would happen, we want to go there and be focused 100 per cent on football and not have to think about anything else, that’s all.
“We are Liverpool FC, a big club, a football team but we don’t have any message further than that. We have no political message, absolutely not. We want the focus to be on a great game of football, free from anything else.
So according to Klopp, it is political if you happen to be of Albanian descent and play in Serbia. This totally goes against British values.