Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka thinks he is “deliberately” targeted by critics but insists his doubters “won’t break” him.
A number of sendings off and mistakes have seen Xhaka come under fire from a number of supporters with the Switzerland international even telling his own fans to “f*** off” when substituted in a draw with Crystal Palace in 2019.
And Xhaka reckons the reaction to his mistakes for Arsenal have been blown out of proportion and he thinks he is now being unfairly targeted.
Xhaka told Blick: “You have to live with criticism in football, but there have to be limits. There are other players who get red cards, but they don’t get criticised as much as I do.
“I sometimes feel that with me it is deliberately made into a bigger issue than it really is.
“But it won’t break me. I overcome it, and this time it has made me come back stronger – no doubt to many people’s surprise.”
Xhaka has received racist abuse from several social media accounts and asked recently for his wife and child to be spared any abuse.
When asked in February about a recent post, Xhaka replied: “It is one of many (examples) if I am honest.
“If I showed the others what they write, I think I have to close my social media, everyone has to close social media.
“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 criticise someone, no problem to criticise 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 by eyes and to ask them, ‘why are you writing things like this?’
“This is not acceptable. So you have to open our eyes and to 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.”