Granit Xhaka’s best friend Patrik Dibrani has revealed he spoke with the “grief-stricken” Arsenal star following his controversial actions in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on Sunday.
Xhaka sparked further furore among Arsenal fans at the weekend as he retaliated to jeers from the home crowd by cupping his hand to his ears before swearing at the Emirates crowd and storming down the tunnel.
Arsenal supporters have since called for Unai Emery to strip Xhaka of the captain’s armband.
But Dibrani, who progressed through the ranks at Basel alongside Xhaka, insists the Arsenal star has been nothing but remorseful since the match against Palace.
“It hurts me a great deal. Granit is like a brother to me,” he told Swiss publication Blick.
“I understand that he did not react well to the booing but if you are a true fan of your club it is like a love affair.
“You have to be there for each other in the bad times as well as the good.
“There should be no place for booing your own players.
“I spoke on the phone to Granit after the game.
“He’s not in a good place – he is grief-stricken.
“He regretted his actions straight away. He is an emotional person.”
Dibrani continued by slamming those Arsenal fans who rained down boos on the midfielder.
“The fans and the English media are quick to bury him. He is at an age when he can make mistakes, and only human,” he added.
“I think the fans who slaughter him are tourists. They are not genuine supporters.
“Granit does everything for his football. He had a personal trainer, and missed out on partying.
“Then he gets abused in the stadium and on social media. The comments are below the belt.”