Adem Ljajic given the boot for not singing Serbian national anthem
It’s been a singing-heavy week for Off The Post in the last 48 hours. First Javier Zanetti pops up on Indonesia Idol and then we are privvy to a truly diabolical rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at the Scotland-USA friendly.
Serbia is the source of the most remarkable story of the lot. Their international side lost to Spain 2-0 at the weekend. It was all run-of-the-mill stuff until it was revealed yesterday that striker Adem Ljacic had been permanently ejected from the side for remaining silent throughout his team’s national anthem.
That sounds like a pretty severe punishment hammered down from manager Sinisa Mihajlovic and it gets even more perverse when you factor that Ljajic was on the bench.
Clearly Mihajlovic laid down a rule that he was unwilling to have breached, but we can’t help wonder what would happen if the same policy was applied to the England team. The plane to Poland and Ukraine would certainly be a lot lighter and the Three Lions would have to line up against France with a fragile 2-2-1 formation.
A strong personal belief is thought to be at the root of Ljaic’s muted statement, with the Serbian press suggesting that a combination of his Muslim religion and the nation’s fractious history left the midfielder unwilling to sing the anthem. Defending his stance at the airport upon return from Spain, the promising attacker said:
”I’m sorry… I love Serbia, but I have to respect my beliefs. I’ve always wanted to play for this country… The coach asked me to sing the national anthem, but if you do not respect yourself, no one can respect you.”
On a lighter note, this is not the first time this month that Adem has got in to hot water with a manager. He’s the Fiorentina player who got a ferocious slap in the chops from his club manager Delio Rossi for showing descent.
Rossi got the kibosh himself, receiving the sack for his violent actions amidst plenty of praise from the club’s fans. Enjoy the player-manager bout once more in the video above. Exemplary man-management.
Today’s story certainly poses fans a controversial question. How would you feel about your international manager ordering the players to sing the national anthem? Patriotic common sense or a tyrannical throttle of a player’s own free will?