Real Madrid star Luka Jovic blames 'incorrect advice' after he 'broke coronavirus isolation to party with girlfriend in Serbia'
Jovic has returned to his home country after the La Liga season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and was instructed to serve 28 days of self-isolation.
But the football star was soon seen outside of his apartment, leading to questions as to the reasoning for him breaking his period of isolation after reports had suggested he was spotted partying in Belgrade while celebrating the birthday of his girlfriend.
Serbian footballers had been urged to not return home, particularly from Spain - a country which has seen more than 17,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 800 deaths.Also on rt.com Football needs to watch out, or risk descending into a coronavirus-induced civil war
"We have negative examples of our footballers, who are paid very well, ignoring mandatory self-isolation upon returning home," said Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, according to AS.
More than 45,000 athletes are understood to have entered Serbia in recent weeks as the sports world closes down amid the pandemic, and the country's interior minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said that criminal proceedings will follow for some.
"We have written criminal reports against some of these famous athletes. These people will respond when the court determines that the time has come for that," Stefanovic said.
However, addressing the matter on his Instagram page, Jovic blamed the incident on a misunderstanding and said that he had not been told what was expected of him, and that he was under the impression he was allowed to visit pharmacies and grocery stores.
"Since the situation in the world and in our country is very difficult, I have to come forward and give support to my people," Jovic wrote.
"First of all, I am very sorry that I am the main topic these days and that I am constantly being written about, not the heroes of this crisis, doctors and all the medical professionals.
"While in Spain, I [tested] negative for coronavirus and decided to come to Serbia to help and support our people and be close to my family, in agreement with the officials. When I landed in Serbia, I was once again tested and coronavirus negative.Also on rt.com Is Pogba 1st footballer to use COVID19 to push for a transfer? Man United midfielder shows 'solidarity' by wearing Juve shirt
"It is very unfortunate for me that some people did their job unprofessionally and did not give me the correct instructions for how to behave in self-isolation. In Spain, I was allowed to go to a pharmacy and a supermarket so that I could get the groceries I needed, which is not the case here.
"I apologise to all the people if I compromised them in some way and I hope that we can manage to get through all this together. Support Serbia and let's stick together."