Following the disappointment of suffering a late defeat to Bosnia in Austria’s 1-0 defeat in Tuesday’s UEFA Nations League Group B3 game, striker Marko Arnautovic stirred up further negative press from his home country by appearing in a picture alongside Edin Dzeko.
The picture was posted on Dzeko’s Instagram account, after the Bosnian had struck the winner against Arnautovic’s Austria side, and the West Ham forward has created controversy in his homeland over his late-night socialising with his opponent after the game.
According to Austrian outlet Kronen Zeitung, via Sport Witness, the picture has ‘caused a stir’ among Austrians who were left unimpressed by the photograph which was captioned with the word ‘brothers.’
The post has now been deleted, but the shot, which was apparently captured at 3am, has been raised to Franco Foda, with the Austria manager questioned on the controversy. Foda is quoted in the report as saying: “After the game, as usual, there was a medical check-up for all players, if everyone is fit, that’s the rule.
“After that, one or two players were dismissed, as some were to travel back in the morning. This includes Marko Arnautovic. I believe that his flight departed from Sarajevo at 7am.
“He did not go back to the hotel with us, like one or two others. In that sense, it was no longer my responsibility.
“He’s old enough, grown up enough, has kids, and he knows what he’s doing. Everything else you have to ask him.”
The incident has been referred to by Kronen Zeitung as ‘Marko’s nocturnal tour’, with Arnautovic apparently making no comment on the events.
However, in the build up to the match against Bosnia, Arnautovic was asked about the possible hostility which he would receive in Bosnia because of his Serbian heritage, to which the striker responded: “You have to switch that off and concentrate on the game, I have my tasks to fulfil.
“But personally, I have no hatred for Bosnia, as well as for Croatia and the whole Slavic countries.
“Of course all the countries still believe that we are in some kind of war, but for me it does not exist anymore, I respect every country and wish you all the best, we do not need to talk about war anymore.”
Arnautovic’s meeting with Dzeko seems as much in the nature of peace making as it is also a friendly meeting between two former Premier League rivals, with Arnautovic having represented Stoke City during Dzeko’s spell with Manchester City.