Serbia star axed for refusing to sing on Saturday

It didn’t do Cheryl Cole any harm on The Voice…


Perhaps pre-empting the match-fixing drama polluting Italian football’s emergence as a headline hog, two protagonists of Fiorentina’s rather lively campaign engineered some fresh chaos this weekend.

Adem Ljajic’s two prior claims to fame are a bungled move to Manchester United and being swung at earlier in May by his then coach Delio Rossi after sarcastically applauding being subbed. He was able to complete a hat-trick of indignities when reunited with former club boss Sinisa Mihajlovic.

The latter led Serbia for the first time against Spain on Saturday and entrusted his former Viola charge with a starting spot, a mistake he won’t make again after the 20-year-old repaid him by not belting out the national anthem.

Mihajlovic decreed in his initial gathering with the squad that such a show of patriotism was now a requirement, and having fallen foul of the rule, Ljajic was politely informed that his services will no longer be needed.

So why didn’t he just follow fashion and mime his way through the tune? The Serbian Football Federation shed some light: “Ljajic has told Mihajlovic he refused to sing the national anthem out of personal beliefs and that there would be no change in his position regarding the matter.”

Is it fair to ban a player over such a seemingly trivial matter? Is Ljajic wrong not to give his vocal chords a workout when representing his country? There is merit to both cases, but either way it is a rubbish way to lose one of your brightest youngsters.

Mihajlovic won’t find many better examples of passionate national anthem projection than this from Italy at the World Cup, though the fact that they lost the match in question 3-2 to Slovakia to book their planes home casts doubt over its effectiveness…

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