Granit Xhaka of Arsenal laments the plight of social media abuse over his family

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Arsenal’s defensive midfielder, Granit Xhaka has revealed that he and his family were always abused on social media whenever the North London club records a defeat. The 28-year-old Swiss footballer said the rate at which footballers are being abused lately can destroy the game of football.

Xhaka is married to his long-term lover, Leonita Lekaj. They got married in July 2017. His daughter, Ayana was born on 7 October 2019. He and his wife are expecting a second child.

In recent times, footballers, football managers, and even referees have been victims of racism and different forms of social media abuse. The Premier League recently wrote to the owners of some of the major social media platforms to take drastic action against the trend.

But the trend seems to be a continuous one as more players and coaches continue to fall victim to social media abuse across various platforms especially Twitter and Instagram.

Before today, Granit Xhaka and his family have been reported to be victims of social media abuse. He confirmed the report today, February 24, ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League match against Benfica scheduled to take place on Thursday, February 25, in Athens, Greece.

The defensive midfielder’s family was said to be abused by some Arsenal fans who were not happy with the performance of the club. But Granit Xhaka argued that those who abused him and his family on social media are not true Arsenal’s fans because true Arsenal’s fans will stick with the players no matter what.

He also argued that it was not right that his family had to be abused for what they know nothing about, urging his abusers to concentrate on him as a footballer and leave his family out of football-related criticism.

Granit Xhaka
Granit Xhaka.

Granit Xhaka who sounded frustrated by the consistent attack from social media said he might have to close his social media accounts due to the hate on the platforms.

“I think I have to close my social media, everyone has to close social media”, Granit Xhaka said. “I say that before and I will say that now and in the future as well, it is only about me. I am the guy who is on the pitch.

“It is not my wife, it is not my little one, it is not my family. So if you want to criticize someone, no problem criticizing me like a person, like a player.

“But don’t make 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 very openly about.

“You don’t have to be quiet and say: ‘Yeah, I keep it with me’, because it is not always easy. But the club was here for me, for my family. They helped me, I was very open with the guys here and if you have people around you, who help
you, it is very, very important.

“The problem is only if you lose, then it is a problem. It is not a problem when you win.

“If you lose, everyone hates you, everyone is writing you things like… it is not possible to understand how they can write something like this, you know.

“I wish I could meet the people who write me the things, to sit with them, eyes my eyes, and to ask them, ‘why are you writing things like this?’

“This is not acceptable. So you have to open your eyes and look after this a lot because I think you kill the football like this if the people start to speak about a player or their families or things like this.”

Just like Granit Xhaka, Arsenal have recently issued a statement condemning the attack on their players and coaches. Recall that recently also, Arsenal’s coach, Mikel Arteta revealed that his family was targeted by abusers on social media.

The club is expected to beat Benfica in the second leg of the Europa League round of 32 on Thursday. The first leg of the tie ended 1-1 which means that any club that wins the second leg will scale through to the second round of the competition.

After the Europa League engagement, Arsenal will return to the Premier League to play against Leicester City at Kings Power Stadium on February 28. The club needs a win to climb higher on the league table. Arsenal are currently occupying the 11th spot on the league table with 34 points in 25 games.

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