Lyon’s Laurent Blanc responds to new signing Dejan Lovren fascism controversy: “I look at the footballing side.”

In his press conference this afternoon ahead of Lyon’s Coupe de France tie against Metz this weekend, manager Laurent Blanc was notably asked about the ongoing controversy surrounding a chant labelled as fascist sung by new signing Dejan Lovren while celebrating Croatia’s World Cup run.

The Croatian made his return to Lyon this month a decade after he left, but not without some pushback from fans. Corriere della Sera have reported that in a video circulating on social media, Lovren and international teammate Marcelo Brozović chant a song which contains references to the World War Two-era Ustaše fascist dictatorship in Croatia. 

As reported by RMC Sport, the former PSG manager first avoided the subject before going on to explain that “it’s a nationalist chant for the liberation of his country”. “[…] It can seem difficult but you’ll have to ask him, I can’t answer for him.”

Blanc then went on to insist that he was only interest in what Lovren had to bring to the table in terms of his performances on the pitch, explaining that “it might not seem deep to you but I saw what he could bring as a player for the club. I think he’s a good signing as a footballer.

“If you look at the man, that’s your judgement. I look at the footballing side. I saw a very respectful man with his family, with his children and wife. You’ll have to put the question to him when you see him. There are many things that can be shocking right now and that’s understandable, but right now we’re in a sports press conference.”

“Honestly, if you only want concrete answers, we’re just football players. We’re not here to talk about much more serious things such as the ones you’re bringing up. That’s my response. Dejan fits what we were looking for, someone with experience, because we were missing that at the back. He’s played at a very high level. And like I’ve explained, if you want to teach, to intervene and be a leader, you have to speak the language. Dejan ticks all those boxes. He will be here from January 6 or 7.”

GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin

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