Granit Xhaka has revealed the full extent of the abuse he receives on social media – and wants to confront the keyboard warriors.
Arsenal midfielder Xhaka insists he does not mind criticism but it has become far too personal with trolls regularly abusing his wife and even his child.
Xhaka is the latest high profile player to reveal the extent of the threats and hate on social media and, while he praised the club for their support in dealing with the issue, he says the abusers should never be considered as Arsenal fans.
Xhaka said: “I’m the guy on the pitch, it’s not my wife, my little one or my family. If you want to criticise, criticise me. I wish I could meet these people, sit with them and ask ‘why are you writing these things’?
“Of course, you can criticise and say what you want about football – but not about the person, not about the family.
“I do not see them as supporters of my club – to support the club they have to be here if we lose, we draw or we win.
“They are not supporters for my club. I don’t see them as supporters for my club. Of course you can criticise or say what you want about football but not about the person or the family.
“If one guy is a ticket holder for the club and he speaks about this about his own players I don’t think he gets respect from our side.
“The problem is only if you lose. It’s not a problem when you win. It’s not possible to understand how they’re writing stuff like this.
“I wish I could meet the people who write these things and ask him eye to eye what he is thinking when he writes stuff like this. I think you kill football like this.”
Xhaka has been a divisive figure among Arsenal fans and lost the captaincy under Unai Emery after gesturing at the supporters after being substituted against Crystal Palace.
But Xhaka has played his way back in favour under Mikel Arteta and, despite some excellent performances this season, a section of the fan base still cannot see beyond him as the reason behind every defeat.