A video has emerged of Granit Xhaka responding to taunts from an angry Serbia fan, after his Albanian eagle celebration earlier in the World Cup.
After scoring his goal for Switzerland against Serbia, Xhaka ran off celebrating with a reference to the Albanian flag, and by extension his Kosovan heritage.
FIFA weren’t happy with the gesture, deeming it a deliberate attempt to provoke the Serbian supporters. They handed out fines to the midfielder, and teammates Stephan Lichtsteiner and Xherdan Shaqiri as well.
Clearly the Serbian supporters weren’t too pleased either, and a video on Twitter shows one of them hurling abuse at Xhaka after the game. In response, the 25-year-old put a finger to his lips, then held up the score on his hands.
Granit Xhaka bantering off an angry Serbia fan. pic.twitter.com/i0viQNczYL
— Gilles (@GrimandiTweets) July 9, 2018
Arsenal will be pleased at the fight Xhaka showed during the tournament, despite Switzerland’s eventual elimination. The former Borussia Monchengladbach man has learned to channel his passion much more effectively in recent months, cutting down on his red cards and suspensions without losing his edge.
Hopefully he comes back to North London with that same fire, and puts in a full season like the final few months of the last campaign. With a new contract, a new head coach and new partners in midfield, let’s see what he can do.