Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has explained why it was the 'right decision' to react to fans following his substitution against Crystal Palace last month, also speaking out about the lack of consequences for social media abuse.
The 27-year-old, whose captaincy was stripped at the start of the month, was visibly frustrated by fans' reactions last month and could even be seen telling a section of Arsenal supporters to "f*** off" as he walked off the pitch against Roy Hodgson's side.
In his first big interview since the incident, Xhaka has controversially stated that he feels it was the 'right decision' to react the way he did as it's started a discussion surrounding abuse that players are all-too-often subjected to - especially on social media.
"I got a lot of positive feedback, especially from the sports scene, both from players and coaches. And also from a lot of Arsenal fans from all over the world," Xhaka told Blick.
"This shows me that I have addressed an important point here and that it was the right decision to show my emotions as well. This has been well received and understood by the footballing community. I’m very glad about that.
"When my shirt number lit up on the fourth official’s panel and our own fans broke into gleeful jubilation, that hit me very hard and really upset me. It was very hurtful and frustrating.
"I can’t understand a reaction like that even now, especially the vehemence of it and the extreme hostility directed against me.
"If the team and I don’t play well, we have to listen [to criticism] and work on it. But insulting and swearing at your own captain will cause upset and a bad atmosphere for the team you are actually supposed to be supporting. That makes no sense to me and weakens the team's spirit."
Xhaka, who explained in a statement that he's been sent vile messages about his wife and daughter online, stressed that something needs to be done to stop people attacking people on social media "without any consequences".
"What began as a bulletin board for friends is increasingly becoming a forum for people who want to insult others," he added. "The rules of common decency and respect are obviously no longer valid for a lot of people!
The Switzerland international's future has been at the centre of attention ever since his substitution against Crystal Palace last month.
It's been suggested that he could be offered to clubs back in Germany as soon as the January transfer window, while manager Unai Emery also admitted that he doesn't know if Xhaka will ever play for the club again.
But the former Arsenal captain insists that he feels the chaos from the last few weeks is now behind him and Xhaka has stressed he's ready to step back onto the pitch for the Gunners.
"You can be sure that I’ll keep fighting and putting myself out there in every training session," Xhaka continued. "I feel that last week has been dealt with and I'm ready."
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Source : 90min