Granit Xhaka says he still does not understand Arsenal fans for their reaction (Getty Images)

Granit Xhaka admits it was ‘painful’ to be booed off by Arsenal fans and has criticised supporters for their ‘incomprehensible’ reaction towards him.

The Switzerland international was stripped off the Arsenal captaincy earlier this week after he reacted angrily to fans who booed him off as he was substituted during the second half of the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last month.

Xhaka has not played for Arsenal since that game, while he is now being linked with a move away from the club in the January transfer window.

‘When my shirt number lit up on the board of the fourth official and then broke jealous jubilation of their own fans, that hit me very much and stirred up,’ Xhaka told Swiss newspaper Blick.

‘It was very painful and frustrating.

Xhaka gestured to Arsenal fans after getting booed off against Crystal Palace (NBC)

‘For me, this reaction is still incomprehensible, especially in this vehemence and how extremely hostile I was here.

‘Since I can remember, the fans are an integral part of my sport.

‘And I have a lot of respect from the beginning for the commitment and hardships fans take to help us players.

‘Justifiable criticism of them makes you grow as an athlete.

‘And the power and energy that they put into the game makes every athlete love football even more. I feel like part of a big football family.

‘But when you get scolded by this very footballing family in times when you are already being attacked massively, it hurts a lot.

Xhaka’s future at Arsenal is now in doubt (Getty Images)

‘By that I do not mean that I can not stand criticism. If I and the team do not play well, we have to listen to it and work on it.

‘But if you offend and insult your own captain, bring restlessness and bad mood into the team you actually support.

‘That makes no sense to me and weakens the cohesion.’





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