It would be the culmination of a great career. Marko Arnautovic knows about the chance to go to a World Cup for the first time late in his life as a footballer. It will probably be his last. “I’ll be 33 in April, the World Cup is every four years. Now is the time to go there,” said the Austria international striker on Tuesday, two days before the play-off semifinals in Wales. “I really want to be there.” He also conveyed that to his teammates.
However, the Bologna legionnaire could not answer how long he would continue to play for Austria after a possible World Cup. “Of course I also have to look at the body, how it all plays together,” said the 96-time international, who has not been free of injuries in recent years. For Bologna he holds ten goals after 27 competitive games. Above all, he appreciates being with his family again after his China adventure.
Before Wales, Arnautovic’s motivation may be a few percent higher: “It may be my last World Cup,” Arnautovic knows. His ÖFB colleagues would classify the knockout game in the same category as the European Championship round of 16 in the summer against Italy (1: 2 aet). “I think we played a really good game there,” said Arnautovic. “There was euphoria, of course, but that’s a step above that. That’s the World Cup folks, that’s the max.”
Marko Arnautovic also commented on the Ukraine war. The ÖFB star was deeply affected: “It’s amazing, I never thought it would happen anywhere near. It’s bad.” He tried to write to his former West Ham colleague Andriy Jarmolenko. “If he needs help, no matter what, I’m there.” Arnautovic also revealed that his wife has launched an aid campaign. “She bought a lot of stuff from sleeping bags to clothes to food.” All this was sent to the Polish border. “If everyone does a little something, if everyone helps together, I think you come out very strong.” But he hopes and prays that the people of Ukraine will be spared as much as possible.