Granit Xhaka, former Arsenal captain, has admitted this Players Tribune That he had his bags packed and was ready to leave the Gunners after abuse from fans.
The decision to leave the London club came after a now infamous match against Crystal Palace in October 2019; Xhaka, who was Arsenal captain at the time, was replaced as the Gunners threw a two-goal lead and booed whistles as the midfielder made his way off the field, to which Xhaka responded by groping his ear and throwing his shirt to the ground.
The famous moment, which can be seen below, has followed the Swiss international at Arsenal ever since but the midfielder has remained at the club after two seasons after easing tensions with Arsenal fans.
? Here is the incident of Granit Xhaka in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace yesterday
Sports life ? (SportingLifeFC) October 28, 2019
Screenshots from Sky Sports
Speaking to The Players Tribune about leaving after the incident, the Arsenal midfielder said:
“My bags were packed. The passports were abroad. I’m done with Arsenal. Been completed. There was a contract on the table from another team, and all I had to do was sign. I spoke with my wife, Leonita, and we decided to leave,”
“The other day against Crystal Palace, things went too far. I was taken off after about an hour. I had barely started to move when I heard the boos. Not only were there a few guys in the corner – there were a lot of people. I was shocked. .”
On his reaction to the incident, Xhaka said: “I hit back, my ears sank, and when I got off the pitch I threw my shirt on the ground and went down the tunnel. Was I wrong in doing what I did? Yes. But would I do anything differently if it happened again tomorrow?” ? Honestly, I don’t know.”
Xhaka stayed at the club after the incident and stated that he “made the right decision” but also claimed in the interview that he “couldn’t pretend like that” [his] The relationship with the fans will remain the same after the way they treated him that day.
The former Arsenal captain clearly loves the north London club, but his relationship with the fans appears fragile after what happened on that day in October of 2019.