Red Star Belgrade have warned Xherdan Shaqiri will be in for a hot reception when Liverpool travel there in the Champions League. Red Star general director Zvezdan Terzic has said they will protect the midfielder from “unwanted situations” but believes the Switzerland international, born in the former Yugoslavia to Kosovan-Albanian parents, will be under “unbelievable psychological pressure” because of his background.
Shaqiri courted controversy during the World Cup when he celebrated a last-minute winner against Serbia with an ‘Albanian Eagle’ gesture.
He and Swiss team-mates Granit Xhaka and Stephan Lichtsteiner were all fined for unsporting behaviour for making the gesture, which symbolises the Albanian flag.
“Personally, I can’t imagine that an Albanian will play for Red Star,” Terzic told Belgrade newspaper Kurir. “Red Star is a Serbian club, Partizan (Belgrade) was Yugoslav.
“I think that Shaqiri will be under unbelievable psychological pressure because he will know where he is coming; he knows that the Red Star is a symbol of Serbia and playing the Marakana, I don’t know whether he will play.
“Of course, as a soccer club, we treat our rivals equally, and we do not have to deal with the past and the history.
“Red Star must do everything to make Shaqiri feel that he came to play football and it is our duty to protect him in the case of unwanted situations. Let’s be good hosts.”