The 22-year-old center-forward arrived at the tournament in Qatar with a persistent groin injury that has been lingering in recent weeks at both his club Juventus and while on international duty.
However, some rumours emerged in the Serbian and Dutch media suggesting that Vlahovic was dropped from the squad because he had an affair with the wife of the national team’s reserve goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic.
“I am sorry to have to start the press conference in the World Cup this way, but I have to talk about it because this is my name being bandied about,” Vlahovic was quoted to have said via a report from GIFN.
“What we all read and hear about, there’s no need to comment on something so absurd.
“Evidently these people are bored and have nothing better to do because they are frustrated or angry, but working against the national interest of the team at the moment is obviously their main job right now.” he added.
Vlahovic also went on to slam the reports and insisted that the Serbia squad is still united despite the recent allegations, while also adding that he is prepared to take legal action as well.
“We are more united than ever and the atmosphere in the squad has never been better. These stories are ridiculous, I just want to protect my name and my integrity, so I will take legal action if necessary.
“It’s not the first time this has happened, I would’ve hoped that people would support the team before such an important match, but instead we are forced to talk about things that have nothing to do with it.
“These are people with empty CVs who achieved nothing, but they will certainly not get extra attention off my name. They have always been small people and prove it day by day.”, he said.
Vlahovic also discussed his fitness levels ahead of the decisive group game against Switzerland on Friday, December 2, 2022.
“I didn’t play because I was not ready enough, but I feel better now and am completely concentrated on the next match.” he stated.
Vlahovic was introduced in the second half of Serbia’s debut at Qatar 2022 against Brazil last week, but his last competitive appearance for Juventus dates back to October 25, when he played 70 minutes in a 4-3 loss against Benfica in the Champions League.
He missed the following matches against Lecce, Inter, Verona and Lazio in Serie A and PSG in the Champions League.
The Serbian striker has already scored seven goals in 15 appearances with the Bianconeri this season.