It appears to be a fact of life now that professional athletes in any sport will be trolled on social media, albeit the nastier side of the human race seems to show its face more where footballers are concerned.
Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka has revealed that his family were targeted in the wake of his sending off against Burnley, and to some extent he has blamed former Manchester United player, turned Sky Sports pundit, Patrice Evra, for stoking the hate.
“One of the problems is we don’t know who is writing this stuff; this is the nature of social media,” Xhaka said to The Guardian.
“As I say, criticise the player. I’m the one on the pitch. But your family and friends are nothing to do with it.
“It’s happened recently with Anthony Martial and his wife receiving some hostile comments. You have to ask yourself: ‘Why?
“There have been comments made by Evra, Henry… they make them as ex-players, sometimes about the performance of a particular player, and they kind of invite that wave of social media criticism. I think some pundits might actually be provoking that criticism.”
Evra’s comments were certainly ill-considered, but to fan the flames further by suggesting the Frenchman is to blame for a number of idiots going out of their way to troll him does Xhaka no favours either.
A combative presence at the best of times, the midfielder has let his hot-headedness often get the better of him.
Take that away from him and a real edge will be lost from his game, however, he does need to learn when to rein it in.
Frankly, Xhaka is his own worst enemy at times.