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Matic Explains Reasons He Stopped Wearing A Poppy
Nemanja Matic says he will not wear a poppy on his Manchester United shirt because it reminds him of when his village was bombed when he was 12. The bombing, in 1999, was part of a Nato-led offensive to drive out Serbian forces from Kosovo.
The 30-year-old opened up on social media about his experiences as a child in his native Serbia ahead of the Manchester Derby on Remembrance Sunday.
“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,” he wrote on Instagram.
“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.”
Matic was the only United player not wearing a poppy during Manchester United 2-1 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday.