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Granit Xhaka named Swiss Footballer of the Year

Granit Xhaka named Swiss Footballer of the Year

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Granit Xhaka named Swiss Footballer of the Year
Granit Xhaka Swiss Footballer of the Year
Granit Xhaka Swiss Footballer of the Year
Granit Xhaka Swiss Footballer of the Year via Blick

There are likely to be fewer better redemption stories in football than that of Granit Xhaka at Arsenal.

From on the verge of an exit after telling fans to f-off, he is now seen as one of the key men under Mikel Arteta’s charge and has transformed himself both on the pitch and in the eyes of Arsenal fans.

So, those same fans will be delighted to see their sometimes-captain pick up the Swiss Footballer of the Year award.

At the ceremony, Xhaka said about the award, “It makes me brutally proud.

“It is a special award for the many work of the past few years in the club and in the national team. But Manuel and Yann (Akanji and Sommer) deserved it just as much.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal celebrates after the team's victory during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 22, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 22: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal celebrates after the team’s victory during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 22, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Sweating as he collected his trophy, a reporter made a joke about it. “I’m dressed so well that it got very warm up there,” Xhaka laughed.

“Seriously, it was very hot on stage. I was not expecting that. I hope you haven’t seen it too much. But if it was visible, people have now got to know a new side of me.”

Asked about being away from Arsenal training for the award, Xhaka said, “I landed on Monday morning and am flying back to London on Tuesday morning. I’ll be training again on Tuesday morning. 

“Of course I got permission from the coach. I very much appreciate this consent. Not every coach does that, because on Friday we’re already playing again in the cup at Man City.

“It definitely shows his appreciation. But I’m not going to party anyway. Nothing is going on in Switzerland on a Monday evening (laughs). I proudly accepted the invitation and from Tuesday I’ll be focusing on training and the next game again.”

Xhaka was then asked about Arsenal beating Manchester United on Sunday. “Making it 3-2 just before the end was pure emotion for the fans and for us players. In my opinion, the win was well deserved,” he said.

will arsenal get a new captain

The euphoria is enormous. I’ve been at Arsenal for seven years and the atmosphere has never been so good. We are right at the top. But we take it game by game. Hopefully it’s enough for the cup at the end.”

And what of Mikel Arteta’s management? “He’s been given the time to build something and is doing a great job. He’s a very special coach. He has a plan A, B, C and maybe even Z for everything. Once you understand him, you see football differently. He talks to us a lot. We have many meetings, also in small groups.”

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