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Granit Xhaka on social media abuse | "they aren’t supporters of my club"

Phil Egan
Phil Egan

11:50 AM - 24 Feb 2021



Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka believes social media abuse could "kill football" and says he has had help from the club to help deal with it.

There have been calls for social media companies to do more to tackle abuse aimed at players on their platforms.

Abusive messages directed at players via social media have become more prominent in recent weeks with racist comments aimed at Manchester United's Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

Republic of Ireland international Aaron Connolly also deleted his social media accounts after he was on the receiving end of abuse following Brighton's recent win over Tottenham.

Xhaka has been booed by Arsenal fans during his career at the Emirates and says he has also had to deal with online abuse.

"If I show others what they write, I think everyone, will have to close their social media," Xhaka said.

"I say it before and I say it now and in the future as well. It’s only about me. I'm the guy on the pitch, it's not my wife, my little one or it's not my family.

"If you want to criticise, no problem to criticise me. Don’t take at the other people involved because they have nothing to do with my job.

"Secondly, I have a lot of help from the club because this is something we have to speak about and be very open about. The club was here for me and for my family."

Xhaka was speaking ahead of the second leg of Arsenal's Europa League last 32 tie with Benfica and said online abuse is at its worst after a defeat.

"The problem is only when you lose," the 28-year-old said.

"It’s not a problem when you win. If you lose everyone hates you and is fighting you. It’s not possible to understand how they can write something like this.

"I wish I could meet these people who write these things, sit with them, eyes by eyes and ask 'why are you writing these things'?"

"Not for me personally, only to know what they are feeling when they write things like this.

"We have to open our eyes and go back to this a lot because then you kill football, if people start to speak about a player or their families on things like this.”

Xhaka also believes a true supporter would not resort to online abuse regardless of the results.

"As supporters of the club, they have to be here if we lose, if we draw or if we win.

"They aren’t supporters of my club. I have said it before. You can criticise and say what you want about football but not about a person or a family."

Arsenal drew 1-1 with Benfica in Rome last week in the away leg of their last 32 tie and the return leg will also be played at a neutral venue due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Mikel Arteta's side travel to Greece for the second leg and the Arsenal boss has confirmed he will be without defender Rob Holding due to concussion.

"For more of these stories, visit otbsports.com."



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Arsenal Europa League Granit Xhaka Mikel Arteta

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