Stephan Lichtsteiner hailed Nemanja Matic after Switzerland beat Serbia on Friday night.
The former Juventus man, who captains his national side, spoke of the Manchester United man’s ‘amazing qualities’ despite Matic picking up an injury-time booking in the first half for a foul on the 35-year-old.
“Matic is an amazing player. Also as a player [sic], I like him a lot,” Lichtsteiner told Goal.
“I have heard from many people that he his a nice person. He has amazing qualities and is an amazing character.”
Lichtsteiner also came to the defence of Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, who celebrated their goals by making a double-headed eagle with their hands, a symbol that represents the Albanian flag.
Both players have Albanian heritage with Xhaka’s parents fleeing Kosovo before he was born. His father served three-and-a-half years in prison for protesting in Belgrade.
Xhaka’s new Arsenal teammate, Lichtsteiner came to the defence of both players.
“They were provoking us for two or three days, so I think they beat each other,” he said. “They are not angels, but for me, it was a very hard war for many of our players’ parents, there were pressures and provocations so for me everything is fine.”
Ragip Xhaka, Granit’s father, was 22-years-old when he was taken to jail, where he spent the next three-and-a-half years for participating in demonstrations against the communist central government in Belgrade. Seeking democracy and freedom at a time of conflict and confusion, he paid a high price for voicing his beliefs.
“It’s true that my father was imprisoned for three and a half years and it was because he stood up for what he believed in,” Xhaka told Swiss newspaper Blick in 2014. “It’s not a taboo subject in our household, we talk about it. After all, I want to know what happened.“