Arsenal and Switzerland captain Granit Xhaka has finally broken his silence over his row with Arsenal fans in the English Premier League.
Xhaka threw his arms up in the air and cupped his ears after his substitution was greeted by boos during their 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Sunday.
He was also seen mouthing “f*** off” at the Arsenal fans and removed his shirt before storming down the tunnel.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery had called on his captain to issue an apology to the fans, with many pundits urging the club to strip him of his captaincy.
In a statement on Thursday, Xhaka offered an explanation to Gunners fans over the furious scenes that accompanied his substitution against Crystal Palace.
The 27-year-old disclosed that he had been “hurt deeply” by comments on social media and at matches recently.
“The scenes that took place around my substitution have moved me deeply,” said Xhaka. “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.
“In this situation, I let myself be carried away and reacted in a way that disrespected the group of fans that support our club, our team and myself with positive energy. That has not been my intention and I’m sorry if that’s what people thought.
“My wish is that we get back to a place of mutual respect, remembering why we fell in love with this game in the first place. Let’s move forward positively together.”