AEK Athens midfielder Giorgios Katidis is being criticized by politicians, fellow athletes and fans from around the world after giving what looks like a Nazi salute while celebrating a go-ahead goal he scored in the Greek Super League.
Videos and photos show the 20-year-old tearing off his jersey, extending his right arm and saluting the crowd after scoring the goal in the 84th minute for a 2-1 victory over visiting Veria on Saturday. Before Katidis is mobbed by teammates, one Brazilian-born teammate, Roger Guerreiro, looks at him with expression of disbelief.
Katidis — a Euro Under-19 star last summer — claims he was ignorant of the meaning of his gesture — right arm extended and hand straightened. He said on his Twitter account that he detests fascism.
AEK's German coach Ewald Lienen came to the defense of his young player saying Katidis doesn't have an "idea about politics."
"He was crying in the dressing room seeing the reaction," Lienen added.