Patrick Vieira insists Granit Xhaka ‘deserves a lot of respect’, despite the Arsenal midfielder’s strained relationship with the club and their fans.
The Switzerland international was stripped of the captaincy at the Emirates after clashing with the Arsenal supporters during last month’s draw with Crystal Palace, whilst he is yet to feature for the first-team after being dropped by Unai Emery following the incident.
Xhaka has proven a divisive figure at the club and has been much-maligned in recent times, with the 27-year-old admitting he reached ‘boiling point’ after his substitution was greeted by cheers from his own supporters.
Xhaka reacted angrily to the jeers and proceeding to goad the Arsenal fans, mouthing ‘f*** off’ before removing his shirt and heading straight down the tunnel.
The following is a message from Granit Xhaka… pic.twitter.com/YG5lBKmQvi
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 31, 2019
Despite the volatile nature of the incident, former Arsenal captain Vieira has sympathised with Xhaka and insists the midfielder deserves more ‘respect’ and has backed the player to come through a difficult period.
“I feel sorry for him because he [was] the captain and he’s going through a really difficult period and really difficult time at Arsenal,” Vieira told Sky Sports.
Granit Xhaka gets booed off by Arsenal fans, tells them to boo louder, tells them to f*ck off and throws his shirt on the floor 😳
— GiveMeSport Football (@GMS__Football) October 28, 2019
“I think we have to remind ourselves that he’s achieved a lot since he’s been at Arsenal and he deserves a lot of respect.
“When you’re a player and don’t perform the way you expect, you get frustrated about yourself. And sometimes you say things or do things you regret.
“I find it really difficult a lot of ex-footballers have jumped on him and being really negative towards him – it’s too too easy.
“I know how good he is and he will come through this difficult period because he’s a strong man, he’s a good player. And he will show how good he is.”