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Van Persie plays down ‘Nazi’ salute claims

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LONDON, England, October 31 – Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has played down claims he used a Nazi salute to celebrate one of his hat-trick of goals in Saturday’s stunning 5-3 win over Chelsea.

After his second goal at Stamford Bridge, which put Arsenal 4-3 up, the Dutchman was seen touching his shoulder with his right hand before raising it to the air.

The claims, published on the internet, were brought to Van Persie’s attention after the match but he was quick to label them “insulting and absolutely absurd”.

“It has been brought to my attention of some ridiculous allegations concerning my celebration of one of my goals yesterday,” Van Persie said on Twitter late Sunday.

“It is totally ludicrous to suggest that my action of brushing my shoulder and pointing to my fans could be construed as anything else but of a showing of joy and celebration.

“To suggest this meant anything to the contrary is insulting and absolutely absurd as nothing else came into my mind.”

Meanwhile, Florian Albert, the former Hungary striker and only European Footballer of the Year from the nation, has died in hospital at the age of 70, the Hungarian news agency MTI said Monday.

Albert died early morning on Monday following heart bypass surgery carried out on Friday.

He was the only Hungarian footballer ever awarded the ‘Ballon d’Or’ prize as the European Footballer of the Year in 1967, beating Manchester United and England star Bobby Charlton into second place by 68 votes to 40.

Albert scored 31 goals as part of Hungary’s national team between 1959 and 1974. Throughout his career he played for Hungarian league giants Ferencvaros, scoring 255 goals in 351 league matches.

With the national team Albert won bronze medals at the Olympic Games in 1960 and in the European championship in 1964.

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