Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic has lashed out in an extraordinary press conference at the World Cup over rumours he is having an affair with the wife of teammate Predrag Rajkovic. The Juventus forward said he is considering legal action to “protect my name and my integrity” over rumours in European press that was dropped for Serbia's last match in Qatar over the affair.
Vlahovic was left on the bench for Serbia's 3-3 draw with Cameroon on Monday. He only played 24 minutes off the bench in their previous 2-0 loss to Brazil after struggling with a groin injury.
However rumours have been running wild in the press and on social media that the 22-year-old was left out of the side over an affair with Rajkovic's wife Ana Cakic. Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Vlahovic described the allegations as 'absurd'.
“I am sorry to have to start the press conference in the World Cup this way, but I have to talk about it because this is my name being bandied about,” Vlahovic said. “What we all read and hear about, there’s no need to comment on something so absurd.
"Evidently these people are bored and have nothing better to do because they are frustrated or angry, but working against the national interest of the team at the moment is obviously their main job right now. We are more united than ever and the atmosphere in the squad has never been better. These stories are ridiculous, I just want to protect my name and my integrity, so I will take legal action if necessary.
“It’s not the first time this has happened. I would have hoped that people would support the team before such an important match, but instead we are forced to talk about things that have nothing to do with it.
“These are people with empty CVs who achieved nothing, but they will certainly not get extra attention off my name. They have always been small people and prove it day by day.”
Dusan Vlahovic desperate to play in must-win clash
Serbia must beat Switzerland on Friday to progress to the knockout stages in Qatar. Vlahovic said he will play 'on one leg' if necessary.
"I managed to recover in 10 days to be available for the national team," he said. "We all talk to the coach every day, he knows my possibilities. If needed with one leg, I'm ready.
"The question is how much I can help the team. I feel much better and I'm ready to help us go for the win.
"We feel the support and you can see and feel in the air that the people believe in us. We knew that the game with Switzerland would be decisive for us, we live for it.
"Against them, we promise to play to the maximum. If they are better, let them beat us, if not, we will win."
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is on SBS and SBS on Demand.
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