“I was done with Arsenal. Finished” – Granit Xhaka has his say on that famous incident at the Emirates

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Former Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka has admitted to The Players’ Tribune that he had his suitcases packed and was ready to leave the Gunners following abuse from fans.

The decision to leave the London club came after a now-infamous game against Crystal Palace back in October 2019; in which Xhaka, who was Arsenal’s captain at the time, was subbed off as the Gunners threw away a two-goal lead and was roundly booed off as the midfielder made his way off the pitch, to which Xhaka responded by cupping 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 remains at the club two seasons later after easing tensions with the Gunners fans.

Footage courtesy of Sky Sports 

Speaking to The Players Tribune about leaving after the incident, the Arsenal midfielder said:

“My bags were packed. The passports were out. I was done with Arsenal. Finished. There was a contract on the table from another club, and all I had to do was sign. I had talked with my wife, Leonita, and we had decided to leave,”

“That day against Crystal Palace, things went over the line. I was taken off after about an hour. I had barely begun to move when I heard the boos. And it was not just a few guys in the corner — it was a lot of people. I was shocked.”

On his reaction to the incident, Xhaka stated: “I talked back, I cupped an ear, and when I got off the pitch I threw my shirt on the ground and went down the tunnel. Was I wrong to do 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 states that he “made the right decision” but he also claims in the interview that he “can’t pretend that [his] relationship with the fans will ever be the same” after how they treated him on that day.

The former Arsenal captain clearly has a love for the North London club but his relationship with the fans seems to be fragile after what happened on that October day in 2019.



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