Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka recently gave an interview to Swiss outlet Blick and spoke about many things, including his motivation when wearing an Arsenal shirt after the issues which he went through in the early stages of the season.
First of all, the Switzerland international was asked about the size of Arsenal as a club at the moment, with the interviewer expressing some reservation about the club being considered ‘big’ after such an underwhelming season.
Xhaka responded to the question with obvious indignation, and he was adamant that Arsenal remain a legendary club and that playing for the Gunners is an honour for him, or any other player for that matter. He believes the team to be in very good hands in terms of future with Mikel Arteta at the helm, and he is fairly confident that European football will return to the Emirates very soon.
It could still happen next season, despite the eighth-place finish in the Premier League, if Arsenal beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final and lift the trophy on Saturday.
In order to get there, the Gunners had to go through holders Manchester City, and even though he himself played extremely well in that semifinal, Xhaka insists that the victory was the result of a tremendous team effort for which every player – the starting XI, the substitutes and the rest of the squad – deserves praise in equal measure.
As you probably remember, the 27-year-old was voted team captain following Laurent Koscielny’s departure ahead of the 2019/20 season and was stripped of the armband after an altercation with the fans in the stadium in the match against Crystal Palace in October. He was close to leaving the club in January with an offer from Hertha Berlin on the table, but Arteta upon his arrival back to the club spoke to him and convinced him to stay.
Xhaka was asked if people booing him that day provided him with extra motivation, a desire to prove him wrong, and he simply replied that he’s only interested in the success of the team, not in personal recognition from doubters.