"How do you do?" asked clueless Günther Platter, head of the state of Tirol, in English when greeting David Alaba at a training camp. The assumption was that Alaba was not from Austria.
The football website goal.com reported on Wednesday that Alaba, who is known around the world for his lightning reactions in the service of Bayern and Austria, assured Platter, “You can easily speak German with me. I’m Austrian.”
Alaba, 19, who has a Filipino mother and Nigerian father, was born in Vienna and raised in the Austrian capital – he is often to be seen playing for his national team, and was Austrian Footballer of the Year in 2011, the youngest player to receive that honour.
Platter's effort at English was all the more embarrassing because he used to be Austrian interior minister – and his former ministry oversees sports in the country.
“I am, as one can see, no football expert, and would like to apologise for this faux pas,” Platter said in a statement for the website tirol.ORF.at.
“I thank David Alaba for his serene reaction and wish him and the Austrian national team success at the two friendly matches in Innsbruck.”