Former Switzerland midfielder, Mario Cantaluppi, reckons that Granit Xhaka isn’t a dirty player, he’s just hard.

Although Cantaluppi, 42, never played alongside our robust midfielder, he’s com out in support of him following Xhaka’s downright ridiculous yellow card against Liverpool.

Xhaka’s had his card marked since referee Jon Moss saw fit to show him a red card for a yellow card challenge back in October against Swansea… and then again against Burnley. While the red against Burnley was slightly more understandable, the booking against the Swans was bizarre and unnecessary.

This led the British media to get all dramatic, as if Xhaka is the only defensive midfielder to ever pick up a card.

The irritating became the ridiculous against Liverpool, when referee Robert Madley decided to channel his inner Jon Moss and present Xhaka with a yellow card for a nasty tackle from Emre Can on Theo Walcott. Considering Xhaka wasn’t even involved in the incident and Can was lucky not to be sent off since he was already on a yellow, this was a ridiculous decision.

It now seems as if Xhaka’s finding it impossible to shake off this unwarranted dirty player image, which Mario Cantaluppi claims shouldn’t even exist.

“Sometimes you have to make a mark,” he said. “Both Steffen* and Xhaka are not dirty. [They’re] hard.”

It’s good to see someone’s fighting Xhaka’s corner.

*FC Basel winger, Renato Steffen.