Matic Explains Why He Won’t Wear The Poppy Despite The Intense Criticism

REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has explained why he decided not to sport the poppy during his side’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth.

The Serbian international was the only player without the poppy on his shirt during the Premier League match-up on Saturday, for which he received flack from the fans present in the Vitality Stadium as well as on social media.

The 30-year-old has since explained his actions through an Instagram post, claiming that the poppy – a symbol of Remembrance – brings back traumatic memories from his childhood.

Back in 1999, when Matic was 12 years old, his village was bombed during the Nato-led offensive that was meant to drive out Serbian forces from Kosovo.

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Matic explained as much in his social media post, stating: “I recognise fully why people wear poppies, I totally respect everyone’s right to do so and I have total sympathy for anyone who has lost loved ones due to conflict.

“However, for me it is only a reminder of an attack that I felt personally as a young, frightened 12-year-old boy living in Vrelo, as my country was devastated by the bombing of Serbia in 1999.

“Whilst I have done so previously, on reflection I now don’t feel it is right for me to wear the poppy on my shirt.

“I do not want to undermine the poppy as a symbol of pride within Britain or offend anyone, however, we are all a product of our own upbringing and this is a personal choice for the reasons outlined.

“I hope everyone understands my reasons now that I have explained them and I can concentrate on helping the team in the games that lie ahead.”

The Red Devils’ star will not sport the poppy on this coming Remembrance Sunday as well, when his side takes on inter-city rivals Man City at the Etihad in a thrilling clash.

View this post on Instagram

I recognise fully why people wear poppies, I totally respect everyone’s right to do so and I have total sympathy for anyone who has lost loved ones due to conflict. However, for me it is only a reminder of an attack that I felt personally as a young, frightened 12-year old boy living in Vrelo, as my country was devastated by the bombing of Serbia in 1999. Whilst I have done so previously, on reflection I now don't feel it is right for me to wear the poppy on my shirt. I do not want to undermine the poppy as a symbol of pride within Britain or offend anyone, however, we are all a product of our own upbringing and this is a personal choice for the reasons outlined. I hope everyone understands my reasons now that I have explained them and I can concentrate on helping the team in the games that lie ahead.

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