BERLIN, Germany — A video has emerged of the soccer captain of Germany and the Bayern Munich club, Manuel Neuer, singing a Croatian song which has right-wing nationalist links while on holiday.
In the filming, Neuer, 34, can be seen in a group at a beach-side bar singing “Lijepa li si” (You are beautiful) by controversial Croatian singer Marko Perkovic, known as “Thompson.”
Perkovic, who is known for his sympathies for Croatia’s World War II pro-Nazi regime, earned the nickname “Thompson” for the brand of weapon he carried during the Croatian war of independence in the early 1990s.
The song in question is a patriotic number that cites Herceg-Bosnia — which Zagreb-backed Bosnian Croats self-proclaimed as a statelet during Bosnia’s 1990s war and which they had hoped would eventually merge with Croatia.
Manuel Neuer singing "Lijepa Li Si" is a unique thing to see.
Maybe he's preparing for the Eternal Derby? ???? pic.twitter.com/rXbEnNMARQ
— ????????Croatian Football???????? (@CroatiaFooty) July 12, 2020
Neuer, who has led the German national soccer team since 2016, is holidaying with his friend and Bayern Munich goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic, 39, on the Dalmatian coast on the Adriatic Sea.
Neuer has not yet commented on the video, but his personal manager told German daily Bild the player does not speak Croatian.
A press officer from Bayern Munich declined to comment when contacted by AFP. Neuer’s managers were not immediately available for comment.
Magazine Focus noted Neuer was “naive to think” the clip would not emerge in the media.
At the same time, “assuming that with this song Neuer supports Croatian nationalist ideas would be a little too far-reaching,” it said.
Having skippered Bayern to an eighth straight Bundesliga title before also winning the German Cup to complete the double, Neuer and his teammate are currently on a two-week holiday.
Bayern could finish this season with a treble of silverware as they are among the favorites for the Champions League finals in Lisbon next month.
Bayern host Chelsea on August 8 in the last 16, second leg, having won the first leg 3-0 in London in February.