Albanian player apologizes for encouraging offensive fan chants

Croatia's Dominik Livakovic in action with Albania's Mirlind Daku, Hamburg Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany, Wed. [Carmen Jaspersen/Reuters]

Albanian forward Mirlind Daku, who led fans in derogatory post-match chants about North Macedonia with a megaphone, has apologized citing the intense emotions of playing at Euro 2024.

Daku was caught on camera whipping up fans after Albania's 2-2 draw with Croatia in Hamburg. That triggered a demand for an apology from North Macedonia's football federation plus an investigation from Europe's soccer body UEFA.

"Apologizing is manly, and I feel a moral and professional obligation to do so, for all those who have been hurt," he said in an Albanian-language statement on social media.

"Like any footballer, in those moments the emotions are on another level, which can only be understood on the field. It is difficult to describe the feeling of playing for this national team, for these wonderful fans who give us unlimited love."

Albania are at only their second...

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