Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren pleaded for refugees to be given a chance as he recalled his own harrowing experience as a child.
Lovren, 27, and his family had to flee from their home due to the war in Bosnia in the 1990s.
Wars across mainly Asia, including in Syria, have led to refugees fleeing, many crossing into Europe.
In an emotional documentary on the club’s website, Lovren said his experiences had given him perspective as he urged people to have empathy.
“When I see what’s happening today [with refugees] I just remember my thing, my family and how people don’t want you in their country,” the Croatian said.
“I understand people want to protect themselves, but people don’t have homes. It’s not their fault; they’re fighting for their lives just to save their kids. They want a secure place for their kids and their futures.
“I went through all this and I know what some families are going through.
“Give them a chance, give them a chance. You can see who the good people are and who are not.”
Lovren remembered his family leaving almost everything behind as they fled to Germany.
“We had everything. We never had problems,” he said.
“Everything went well with the neighbours – with the Muslims, with the Serbs, everyone was talking very well between each other and enjoying the life, everything was like how they wanted.
“And then it [the war] happened. I just remember the sirens. I was so scared because I was thinking ‘bombs’.
“I remember my mum took me and we went to the basement – I don’t know how long we’d been sitting there. Afterwards, I remember Mum, my uncle and my uncle’s wife, we took the car and then we were driving to Germany, 17 hours.
“They left everything. They took one bag. It was tough. I couldn’t imagine today to run away with my kids, and to really be scared for your life.
“It’s about your life, it’s not about a job or something like that. You’re leaving behind everything you had before.”
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