Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka has broken his silence and issued a statement following last Sunday’s incident where he is accused of insulting fans when they booed him as he went off during a league match against Crystal Palace.
The Gunners’ skipper has been under pressure for the last few days over the F word he used against club supporters after they jeered him at the Emirates during a league match that Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead to settle for a two-all draw.
There have been calls for the Switzerland international to apologize to the supporters while some have been calling that he be stripped the captaincy by coach Unai Emery.
The player has finally issued a statement. According to him repeated insults from the supporters led to the outburst witnessed on Sunday. He added that insults aimed at his family ‘stirred him up’. He went on to call for mutual respect between the players and the fans.
After taking some time to reflect on what happened on Sunday afternoon, I would like to give you an explanation rather than a quick response. The scenes that took place around my substitution have moved me deeply. I love this club and will always give 100 percent on and off the pitch.
My feeling of not being understood by my fans and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months have hurt me deeply.
People have said things like “we will break your legs”, ‘kill your wife’ and ‘wish that your daughter gets cancer. That has stirred me up and I reached the boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.
In this situation, I let myself be carried away and reacted in a way that disrespected the group of fans that supports our club, our team and myself with positive energy. That is not my intention and I’m sorry if that’s what people thought.
My wish is that we get back to a place of mutual respect, remembering why we fell in love with this game in the first place. Let’s move forward positively together.