The deputy AfD party chairwoman Beatrix von Storch has called for the exclusion of Antonio Rüdiger from the German national team. “The German Football Association (DFB) must react immediately and exclude Mr Rüdiger from the national team. He does not represent the values of the German national team, but opposes them,” von Storch told the newspaper JUNGE FREIHEIT on Friday. “There can be no place for such a man in the DFB team.”
The background is a post on Instagram by MMA professional Chabib Nurmagomedow, which Rüdiger marked with “I like”. In it, the UFC world champion and self-confessed Muslim agitates against French President Emmanuel Macron for his fight against political Islam. Among other things, Nurmagomedov published a photo of Macron’s face with a footprint on it. In addition, the MMA fighter demands that Allah humiliate Macron and all those who insulted the feelings of Muslims.Rüdiger has marked the article, which is written in Cyrillic script, with a “Like”.He was also marked with a Like by former national player Mesut Özil.
Even if neither of them could have understood the content, the photo of Macron with the footprint on his face should be unmistakable. Posters with the motif had already been shown at anti-Macron demonstrations in recent days, which also called for a boycott of French products.
At the request of JUNGEN FREIHEIT, the DFB has so far not commented on the incident and possible consequences for the central defender, who is under contract with FC Chelsea.
Rüdiger apologised to the tabloid Bild-Zeitung for using the Like and deleted it: “That was a mistake. Of course you shouldn’t read articles written in languages you don’t understand. I reject any kind of violence and would therefore like to distance myself clearly from these contents”.If there was one overarching theme in his life, it was the fight against violence and racism. “Believe me that I will continue to follow this path from the bottom of my heart. I would therefore want to make it clear once again that I am a devout believer, but also a determined opponent of all violence. I apologise for my like, that is why I have withdrawn it in the meantime. Of course I do not support such contents as in this Instagram article at all,” the national player told the paper.Rüdiger had recently called for tougher penalties for racist incidents in stadiums. He also believes that spectators and fans who remain silent or turn a blind eye to racist incidents should be punished. “I have a very clear message for these people: they are accomplices, quite simply. I think these people should be punished. Those who cover up or silently tolerate racism are also part of the problem”.