Lokomotiv Moscow player Dmitry Tarasov has created furore in Turkish media by wearing a t-shirt that praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday.
Tarasov was wearing the T-shirt under the jersey during the European League match against Fenerbahçe in Istanbul. After the match he showed it to everyone.
The match in the Turkish metropolis was the most important sporting duel between Turkey and Russia since a Russian plane was shot down over Turkey on the border with Syria on November 24 last year. The episode led to a large-scale diplomatic crisis.
Fenerbahçe won Tuesday's match 2-0, but after the match, the headlines in the Turkish media was about Tarasov's behavior after the match.
The Lokomotiv player took off the jersey and displayed a T-shirt with a picture of Putin wearing a military uniform, with an inscription saying "The most polite president".
Tuesday's episode comes in the wake of a war of words on Syria, between Putin and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
- A Putin-provocation by a Russian footballer, wrote the government-friendly Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, late Tuesday night.
There were no reports of trouble after the match in Istanbul. Fenerbahce's Portuguese coach Vitor Pereira, however, complained about his counterpart in Lokomotiv, Igor Sjerevsjenko.
- I would like to put into words something sad. The Lokomotiv coach did not shake hands after the match, he said.
Dmitry Tarasov later defended his behavior, telling the Russian agency R-Sport: "It's my president. I respect him and decided to show that I'm always with him and prepared to give my support.
"What was written on that shirt was everything that I wanted to say."
Political statements are not allowed by UEFA at its competitions.
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