Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka thought his career at Arsenal was finished following the ‘f*** off’ row with the fans back in October.
The Swiss international received a chorus of boos after being substituted against Crystal Palace as he sauntered off the pitch with the team’s drawing.
Xhaka who had received ‘repeated abuse’ for months had recently become a father and reacted angrily to being jeered by the home supporters.
He marched down the tunnel after swearing at the home crowd.
The 27 year-old was later stripped of the Arsenal captaincy by Unai Emery has said he feared he had played his last game for the club following the remarkable fallout.
However, Xhaka after a resurgence in form and leadership, Xhaka restored his reputation and is now a regular in the Mikel Arteta managed Arsenal team.
“Of course, I don’t lie. There was a moment [when I thought I wouldn’t play for Arsenal again], because it was not easy for me and my family. I hope people understand this,” he told the Evening Standard.
“But I think I showed my character. I am not a guy who runs away. I always say to the club: ‘When I [am] here, I am ready to give everything.’ It was like this always. I train very hard and that things turned around is the key. This [has given me] the most happiness.”
“I know with or without the armband what I can give the team,” he said. “But in this moment [against Palace] I don’t want to take the armband back, but Sokratis [Papastathopoulos] and David [Luiz] told me I have to take it. If one day the club asks me about the armband, I have to think twice.”
Xhaka contrasted the difficult relationship with fans in England with the open dialogue that can be shared in Germany, where he previously played with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
“On one side I understand the fans, because they always want the players to perform, but on the other side they have to understand us as well. It is not always easy. I think this is the biggest difference [between] Germany and England, because [here] we don’t have the [close] connection with the fans. In Germany, for example, you have open training sessions, the fans come and [talk to you], ask you why.
“Here, everything is closed. So, for me, it would be good this time to explain to the people what is not going good or bad. But it doesn’t matter now. Now we have to enjoy, that’s the most important.”