Granit Xhaka has had his say on the recent spike of online abuse aimed towards footballers in recent weeks, with the Swiss midfielder himself a target of such hurtful comments from trolls.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s must-win Europa League clash against Benfica in Athens, the Gunners midfielder gave his two cents on the matter of online abuse on social media, with a number of Arsenal players such as Eddie Nketiah and Willian also being targeted by so-called ‘fans’ on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.
Xhaka has long been the centre of abuse from some Arsenal fans since joining the club from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2017, with the 28-year-old midfielder infamously swearing and gesturing at Gooners after being substituted off against Crystal Palace in the 2019/20 season.
When asked about the latest round of abuse Xhaka has received from Arsenal supporters on social media, the Swiss international said via Sky Sports News: “It is one of many (examples), if I am honest.
“If I showed the others what they write, I think I have to close my social media, everyone has to close social media. 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.”
The former Arsenal captain added: “The problem is only if you lose, then it is a problem. 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 the things, to sit with them, eyes by eyes and to ask them, ‘why are you writing things like this?’”
Xhaka’s case is sadly just one of many that has been arisen in recent weeks with a number of Premier League players being the subject of abuse from faceless trolls on social media, with the likes of Manchester United players Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial and Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger being targeted by accounts online.