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Bayern’s Manuel Neuer Filmed Singing Croatian Nationalist Song

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Manuel Neuer playing against Bayer Leverkusen, July 2020
Manuel Neuer is the captain of Bayern Munich and Germany

The captain of Bayern Munich and Germany’s national football team has been filmed singing a controversial song while on holiday in Croatia.

In the video, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is seen with a group of men at a beach singing Lijepa li si (You are beautiful).

It references an area of Bosnia-Herzegovina claimed by Croatian nationalists in the 1990s.

The BBC has reached out to Bayern Munich for comment.

Neuer is currently on holiday in Croatia with his goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic. Bayern Munich won an eighth consecutive league title last month, weeks after Neuer extended his contract with the team until 2023.

Mr Tapalovic was born in Germany but is of Croatian descent, and his brother Filip Tapalovic appeared three times for Croatia’s national side.

It is not known if Neuer understood the words of the song. The keeper’s personal manager told Bild newspaper that he does not speak Croatian.

Lijepa li si is seen as Croatia’s unofficial football anthem and is popular in the Balkan nation.

The lyrics refer to Herceg-Bosna, an area of neighbouring state Bosnia-Herzegovina claimed by Bosnian Croats in the 1990s, who were supported by the government in Zagreb during the Balkan wars.

Croatian nationalist folk singer Marko Perkovic penned the song in 1998. His performances have been banned in several European countries.

Critics have linked Mr Perkovic – known as Thompson after the type of machine gun he carried during Croatia’s independence war in the 1990s – to the nationalism of Croatia’s pro-Nazi Ustasha regime in World War Two.

The Ustasha was a Nazi puppet regime which killed more than 100,000 people in concentration camps, most of them Serbs, Jews and Roma. Mr Perkovic denies sympathising with the Ustasha.

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