This is a weird one.
So Lofti Dif, striker for CA Batna in Algeria’s second division, scored the goal you see above this weekend. In celebration, he lifted his jersey to reveal another shirt, which read “Ici C Paris,” which is close to “Ici c’est Paris,” which means “Here, this is Paris.” As you can see, at least one of his teammates apparently took issue with the message and pulled Dif’s jersey back over the undershirt.
The natural interpretation of the shirt was that Dif intended to express solidarity with the victims of the recent Paris terrorist attacks. This seems to be what got his teammate upset, and also what earned him a suspension and €2,000 fine from his club.
That in itself would be weird enough—why suspend a player for expressing support for victims of terrorism?—but the story gets stranger, with how Dif defended himself after the uproar. He didn’t cite the purity of his message, but said that what he really meant by wearing the shirt was something else entirely: he just wanted to show how big a Zlatan Ibrahimović fan he is. From Le Parisien:
The player defended himself by mentioning only his support for ... PSG. “Ici, c’est Paris” is indeed the rallying cry for supporters of the capital club. “I did not realize what was written on my shirt,” assured Lotfi Dif according to the Algerian daily “Reporters.” “I’m a fan of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paris Saint-Germain. Otherwise, it has nothing to do with politics. I only did what Ibrahimovic does. I am in solidarity with neither France nor anything else. I have nothing in common with them and what happened out there doesn’t concern me even remotely. It’s just because I like Zlatan.”
CA Batna’s president was largely unmoved:
“Farid Nezzar, president of CA Batna, denounced the “inappropriate behavior.” “Even if he says he is a supporter of Paris Saint-Germain, he is primarily a player of CA Batna,” he said in comments reported by “Reporters”. The president, however, asked fans to “give a little leniency with him. We should not put too much pressure on him because he is a young player and I do not think he will commit another error such as this.”
Weird stuff, man.