Xhaka: Arsenal Midfielder Stripped of Captaincy
Midfielder Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang taking over, Gunners’ boss Unai Emery has confirmed.
Emery told Xhaka on Tuesday morning he was no longer part of the Gunners’ leadership group and said that Xhaka “accepted” the decision.
“I think we need to take time with him, first to protect him and also to be calm and training with us every day. But I was speaking with him this morning and also I decided he’s not one of the captains in our group and I decided that and I told him this morning,” Emery told Arsenal’s website.
Xhaka previously apologised for his actions following his substitution against Palace, during which he was seen to cup his ear in response to abuse from sections of the fanbase, whose escalating campaign against the 27-year-old has been brewing for much of the season.
“The scenes that took place around my substitution have moved me deeply,” he stated. “I love this club and always give 100% on and off the pitch.
“My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months, have hurt me deeply.
“People have said things like, ‘We will break your legs’, ‘Kill your wife’ and ‘Wish that your daughter gets cancer’. That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.”
Xhaka, who has not played since, has been left out of Arsenal’s squad for their Europa League game in Portugal against Vitoria Guimaraes on Wednesday.
Xhaka, who was named the Gunners’ permanent skipper in late September, succeeded Laurent Koscielny in the role.