Granit Xhaka’s close friend says the Arsenal star is ‘grief-stricken’ and blasts ‘tourist’ fans


Nobody came out of the Granit Xhaka situation smelling of roses.

The Arsenal fans who booed him should take some responsibility for the way Xhaka reacted after being substituted against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Xhaka, meanwhile, obviously reacted badly and could pay a heavy price for allowing his emotions to get the better of him.

The Swiss midfielder was left out of the Arsenal squad for the League Cup clash against Liverpool on Wednesday night and could end up losing the captaincy, too.

Some people believe Xhaka’s days as an Arsenal player are now numbered and wouldn’t be surprised to see him leave the Emirates Stadium in January.

Unai Emery admitted Xhaka was ‘sad’ and ‘devastated’ following the incident, adding: "Really, he knows he was wrong. He feels inside, very deep. But he normal like a human, every player needs the supporters' support.”

Arsenal have offered counselling to Xhaka, according to BBC Sport, while one of his close friends has revealed further details about the midfielder’s current state of mind.

Arsenal FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Patrik Dibrani, who came through the academy with Xhaka at FC Basel, spoke with Xhaka over the phone and has told Swiss publication Blick - per the Mirror - that the footballer is “grief-stricken”.

"It hurts me a great deal. Granit is like a brother to me," Dibrani told reporters. “I understand that he did not react well to the booing but if you are a true fan of your club it is like a love affair.

"You have to be there for each other in the bad times as well as the good. There should be no place for booing your own players.

"I spoke on the phone to Granit after the game. He’s not in a good place – he is grief-stricken.

"He regretted his actions straight away. He is an emotional person."


Dibrani also criticised the Arsenal fans, suggesting those who booed Xhaka are “tourists” rather than proper fans.

"The fans and the English media are quick to bury him. He is at an age when he can make mistakes, and only human," he continued. "I think the fans who slaughter him are tourists. They are not genuine supporters.

"Granit does everything for his football. He had a personal trainer, and missed out on partying.

"Then he gets abused in the stadium and on social media. The comments are below the belt.

"At Basel he was an undisputed first-teamer aged 18, and he was Borussia Monchengladbach’s youngest ever captain.

"Now he gets slaughtered without mercy. It is not fair."

Arsenal FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Dibrani, who plies his trade with SC Zofingen in the third tier of Swiss football, believes his friend has been made a scapegoat for Arsenal’s current problems.

"Swiss people have to be proud that one of us is captain of one of the world’s biggest clubs but the blame for Arsenal ’s entire situation is being placed on Granit’s shoulders," he added.

"I am a Manchester United fan, and both they and Arsenal have been off the top of English football for five or six years.

"Both clubs are simply not as good as Liverpool or Manchester City."

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