Granit Xhaka does not view Arsenal fans who send him online abuse as genuine supporters and says he would love to sit down with them ‘eye to eye’ and ask them why they write what they do.
The Switzerland international has had a checkered relationship with supporters since his move to north London in 2016 and it spilled over last year when he was jeered off the pitch having been substituted by former boss Unai Emery.
Xhaka reacted badly to the jeers and gestured angrily at the fans, telling them to ‘f*ck off’ . He was subsequently stripped of the captaincy by Emery due to his reaction and looked certain to leave the club.
“I say that before and I will say that now and in the future as well, it is only about me. I am the guy who is on the pitch. It is not my wife, it is not my little one, it is not my family.
“So if you want to criticise someone, no problem to criticise me like a person, like a player. But don’t make the other people involved because they have nothing to do with my job.
“They are not supporters of my club. I do not see them as supporters of my club – to support the club they have to be here if we lose, we draw or we win.
“Of course, you can criticise and say what you want about football – but not about the person, not about the family. I think this is two pairs of shoes, about the footballer and the person.
“But if one guy is a ticket holder at the club and speaks like this about his own players I don’t think he needs respect from our side or other people.”
“The problem is only if you lose, then it is a problem,” he said. “It is not a problem when you win. If you lose, everyone hates you, everyone is writing you things like…it is not possible to understand how they can write something like this you know.
“I wish I could meet the people who write me these things, sit with them eye to eye and to ask them, why are you writing things like this?
“Not only for me personally, because it happens a lot in the last few weeks, but only to know what he is feeling in this moment when he writes things like this.
“This is not acceptable. So you have to open our eyes and to look after this a lot, because I think you kill football like this if the people start to speak about a player or their families or things like this.”