The editor of huge Swiss publication, Blick, has hit out at Granit Xhaka for being negligent after it was revealed the midfielder had not only picked up Covid but had also not been vaccinated.
Ahead of Switzerland’s game against Greece on Wednesday night, Granit Xhaka had to pull out of the squad after testing positive for Covid-19. The Swiss FA head of communications Adrian Arnold then confirmed the midfielder hadn’t been vaccinated.
“Granit Xhaka was not vaccinated,” Arnold confirmed. “He’s a player who isn’t vaccinated. We left this up to each player, it’s a personal decision of each player – just like any other person in Switzerland.
“We have issued a recommendation that everyone vaccinate. But he decided for himself personally. And it is also his right not to be vaccinated.”
Writing in Swiss publication, Blick, their editor-in-chief did not hold back when it came to criticising the former Arsenal captain after it was reported by the Swiss FA that he was both infected and unvaccinated.
“The fact that it is a week to forget for Granit Xhaka after a red card with Arsenal is one aspect,” Andreas Böni said. “The other is that he acted irresponsibly.
“As much as Xhaka impressed us at the Euros with his leadership of the team, it is difficult to understand that as captain of the Swiss national team, as a role model for many, he is not vaccinated.
“He had already challenged fate when he went to the tattoo artist without a mask before the Euros.
“Sure, there is no compulsory vaccination, each person makes this decision themselves. But basically it is negligent not to be vaccinated as a professional footballer. You travel a lot, on planes, on buses, you are constantly on the move with different groups of people. And if you get caught, an entire team is threatened with quarantine, which endangers the game.”
Xhaka is now going to be out for at least a week or so, not that it makes much difference to Arsenal, who would have been without him anyway due to his red card against Manchester City.
It’s more of an issue for Switzerland, who have two further World Cup Qualifiers before the international break is over, including one against Italy.
The bigger concern for Arsenal now is whether Xhaka ends up with longer lasting effects of having contracted the virus whilst unvaccinated. We saw how Covid-19 set back Gabriel Magalhaes for a while even after he was officially available again early this year.
Xhaka also believes that he was ‘brutally surprised’ to be sent off for flying, two-footed, off the ground into a tackle against Manchester City.