Social media abuse pushes Arsenal skipper Xhaka to ‘boiling point’

November 1 – Granit Xhaka said he had reached “boiling point” after receiving social media abuse, explaining his angry reaction to Arsenl supporters against Crystal Palace last weekend. 

The Swiss international and Arsenal captain has been the man in the middle in a tumultuous week in North London. He says that abuse, including physical threats and taunts that urged him to “kill your wife” and wished his daughter would get cancer, had pushed him to the limit.

Xhaka was substituted in the 61st minute against Palace and received ironic cheers from the Arsenal fans, which sparked an angry reaction from the Swiss, who cupped his ears looking at the crowd, didn’t shake Unai Emery’s hand, angrily took off his jersey and launched into a foul-mouthed tirade.

“The scenes that took place around my substitution have moved me deeply. I love this club and always give 100% on and off the pitch,” wrote Xhaka in a social media post. “My feeling of not being understood by 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 boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.

“In this situation I let myself get carried away and reacted in a way that disrespected the group of fans that support our club, our team and myself with positive energy. That has not been my intention and I’m sorry if that’s what people thought. My wish is to 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.”

Xhaka was rested during Arsenal’s Carabao Cup game with Liverpool in midweek and how his future at the club will pan out remains uncertain. Coach Emery has remained tight-lipped as to whether Xhaka will remain captain after Sunday’s incident, but indicated that Xhaka will not play in the weekend against Wolves.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1600624770labto1600624770ofdlr1600624770owedi1600624770sni@o1600624770fni1600624770