One of the most famous theories in the world is the “Butterfly Effect”. To put it simply, the theory says that everything in the world can be caused by any change that happened before. The metaphor that is often used to describe it is a tornado in Texas that happened as result of a butterfly that flapped his wings a few weeks earlier in Brazil.
Flapping wings can be much more effective when it becomes to bigger birds, like an eagle. One eagle in Russia had some major effect on a football match that will happen a few months later in Belgrade. If you don't believe in the theory – just ask Xherdan Shaqiri.
The Serbs are waiting for Shaqiri since the World Cup. During the group stage, Shaqiri played with Switzerland against Serbia. In the 90th minute he scored the winning goal for the Swiss and celebrated by making the double-headed eagle gesture with his hands, the national symbol of the Albanians. Shaqiri, who was born in Kosovo, felt that he won not only for Switzerland that day, but also for Kosovo and the Albanians.
Since the UEFA Champions League group stage draw has been made, many have noticed the possible arrival of Shaqiri with Liverpool to Belgrade. Zvezdan Terzić, the general secretary of Crvena Zvezda spoke about this issue already in Septmeber. "Crvena Zvezda must do everything to make Shaqiri feel that he comes to play football and it is our duty to protect him".
Not only Terzić was confident in the ability of his club to calm down this clash, but also Shaqiri himself was unconcerned of this visit. "I just go there to play a football game. I worry about nothing and go to play," said Shaqiri more than a week ago. "I just saw a few articles where one player said something. I don’t really care what people are saying."
Before the match, Jürgen Klopp made a decision to not include Shaqiri in Liverpool's squad for their match against Crvena Zvezda. “We have heard and read the speculation about what kind of reception Shaq would receive and although we have no idea what would happen, we want to go there and be focused 100 percent on football and not have to think about anything else, that’s all", Klopp told Liverpool's official website.
A lot of rumors were spread about Shaqiri's reception in Belgrade. There is no doubt that Crvena Zvezda made a full list of chants and curses against him. Nevertheless, some of the rumors were about actual threats that Shaqiri received. However, none of these threat rumors were not confirmed nor denied by anyone.
Shaqiri's absence is a small part on the ongoing story of Serbian-Albanian football clashes. In 2014, a match between Serbia and Albania has been abandoned after a series of incidents, including racist chants and a drone that carried the Greater Albania flag. A year ago, away fans were not allowed to travel for the matches between Partizan Belgrade and Skënderbeu in the Europa League.
From now on we will need to look on the consequences of that decision. Shaqiri is not the only player that can face problems in his arrivals to Belgrade. Today, more players from Kosovar or Albanian origin can find themselves in such an uncomfortable situation. Would they avoid playing in Serbia for good?